Iran sees secret execution surge for drug offenses

This year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people – many impoverished – who are executed for drug offences in Iran, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

In the 44-page Addicted to Death: Executions for Drug Offences in Iran, the organization finds that at least 488 people have been executed for alleged drug offences so far in 2011, a nearly threefold increase on the 2009 figures, when Amnesty International recorded at least 166 executions for similar offences.

In total Amnesty International has recorded some 600 executions reported by both official and unofficial sources this year, with drug offences accounting for about 81% of the total. The organization called on the Iranian authorities to end the use of the death penalty against those accused of drug offences.

“To try to contain their immense drug problem, the Iranian authorities have carried out a killing spree of staggering proportions, when there is no evidence that execution prevents drug smuggling any more effectively than imprisonment” said Amnesty International’s Interim Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Ann Harrison.

“Drug offences go much of the way to accounting for the steep rise in executions we have seen in the last 18 months. Ultimately Iran must abolish the death penalty for all crimes, but stopping the practice of executing drug offenders, which violates international law, would as a first step cut the overall number signi… >>>

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