Washington DC – According to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, 29 executions by hanging occurred on Sunday morning at Evin Prison in Tehran. An article from the BBC reports the prisoners had been charged with a wide array of crimes including murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking.
The executions were sanctioned by the Iranian Supreme Court and a statement released to the IRIB claimed that “Twenty-nine drug smugglers and well-known bandits were hanged in Evin prison on Sunday at dawn.” The statement continued on to say that the criminals had “smuggled thousands of kilos of narcotics in the country and outside the country.”
The Defenders of Human Rights Centre, an organization run by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi condemned the mass hangings, citing unfair court cases as well as challenging capital punishment’s effectiveness as a deterrent. The organization, which was founded by five notable human rights lawyers and is led by Ebadi, issued a statement in response to government claims that executions prevent new crime which states that “the use of capital punishment will have no effect in cutting crime and will rather increase crime.”
In 2007 Iran reported between 317-355 executions; second only to China’s reported 500 and has killed at least 155 as of this year. These numbers are considered by many human rights groups including Amnesty International and Hands Off Cain to be at the lower spectrum of reality as many executions in Iran have gone unpublicized.