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April 13, 2023 10:58 am

Iran’s ‘Killing Machine:’ Executions Surge by 75% in 2022

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avatar by i24 News

Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini speaks in a courtroom before being executed by hanging, along with Mohammad-Mehdi Karami, for allegedly killing a member of the security forces during nationwide protests that followed the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, in Tehran, Iran December, 2022. Photo: West Asia News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsIran hanged 75 percent more people in 2022 than the previous year, two rights groups said Thursday, warning this “killing machine” risked putting even more people to death this year after protests rocked the country.

The figure of at least 582 executions was the highest for the Islamic Republic since 2015 and well above the figure of 333 for 2021, Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Together Against the Death Penalty said in their report.

Last year was marked by the eruption of nationwide anti-regime protests sparked by the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd who was arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rules for women. Authorities responded with a crackdown that saw four men hanged in protest-related cases – executions that prompted an international outcry.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam said that while the international reaction was keeping protest-related executions in check, Iran was pressing ahead with executions on other charges to deter people from protesting.

“We fear the number of executions will dramatically increase in 2023 if the international community does not react more,” Moghaddam told AFP. “Every execution in Iran is political, regardless of the charges,” he added, describing those executed on drug or murder charges as the “low-cost victims” of Iran’s “killing machine.”

He said that with over 150 executions in the first three months of this year alone, the overall total for 2023 risked being the highest in some two decades, exceeding even 2015 when, according to IHR, 972 people were put to death in Iran.

The report noted that members of the mainly Sunni Muslim Baluch minority accounted for 30 percent of executions nationwide – even though they account for just two to six percent of Iran’s population – and that the numbers of ethnic Kurds and Arabs executed were also disproportionate.

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