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July 24, 2015 3:18 pm

Amnesty Blasts ‘Staggering’ Iranian Execution Spree; Nearly 700 People Killed So Far This Year

avatar by David Daoud

Iran News Agency Mehr's coverage of a public hanging. Photo: Amin Rahmani / Mehr.

Iran News Agency Mehr’s coverage of a public hanging. Photo: Amin Rahmani / Mehr.

Leading human rights group Amnesty International is concerned over the “staggering” increase of executions in the Islamic Republic of Iran this year, the group said in a statement published on Thursday.

According to Amnesty, Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an “astonishing” 694 people between January 1 and July 15 this year.

The group added that the “unprecedented spike in executions in the country,” was the equivalent of “executing more than three people per day.”

“At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International for the whole of last year,” the statement said.

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Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, said, “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale.”

He added: “If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end.”

Amnesty said that the “surge in executions” shows that the country is seriously “out of step” with the rest of the world when it comes to use of the death penalty, considering that 140 countries have abolished the practice.

“Executions in Iran did not even stop during the holy month of Ramadan. In a departure from established practice, at least four people were executed over the past month,” the group noted.

The report comes just days after world powers moved to welcome Iran back into the international community with the historic nuclear deal finalized last week.

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