Iran has executed more than 100 people in the first three months of 2022, continuing a worrying upward trend, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented on Tuesday.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Deputy Human Rights Chief Nada Al-Nashif presented Guterres’ latest report on Iran , decrying that executions in the country were on the rise.
“While 260 people were executed in 2020, at least 310 people were executed in 2021, including at least 14 women,” she said, adding that the trend had continued this year.
Between January 1 and March 20, she said, “at least 105 people were executed”, many of whom were from minority groups.
Guterres’ report noted with deep concern the rise in executions for less serious crimes, including drug-related offences, Nashif said.
“The death penalty continues to be imposed on charges that do not constitute the ‘most serious crimes’ and in a manner inconsistent with fair trial standards,” she told counsel.
Nashif said that in March, 52 people sentenced to death on drug-related charges were transferred to Shiraz prison for execution.
She also deplored the continued use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders, in violation of international law.
– “Excessive use of force” –
Between August 2021 and March 2022, at least two people who committed their alleged crimes as minors have been executed and more than 85 juvenile offenders remain on death row, she said.
“In February 2022, in a positive development, the Supreme Court decided to revoke the death sentence of a juvenile offender who had been on death row for 18 years,” Nashif added.
The deputy rights chief also denounced other rights violations in Iran, particularly in response to protests against a series of significant social, political and economic challenges over the past year.
“Excessive use of force is the authorities’ default response to managing gatherings,” she said.
“In April and May 2022, at least 55 people – teachers, lawyers, labor rights advocates, artists and academics – were arrested during protests, many of whom face national security charges.”
To date, no action has been taken to establish accountability for violations committed during the nationwide protests in November 2019, she added.
Unnecessary deaths caused by excessive force inflicted by authorities, against border crossings, peaceful protesters and those in detention, have continued with impunity, Nashif told the council.
“The scale of deaths in custody … is very concerning,” she said.
Mehdi Ali Abadi, Iran’s deputy permanent representative in Geneva, criticized the report, saying it was based on a malicious mandate imposed on the UN by Western countries to stigmatize Iran, insisting that it was “biased by default”.
“To reduce the noble code of human rights to a small political tool is appalling and shameful,” he told the council.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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