Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Defies International Community by Launching New Wave of Executions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A policeman prepares a man, convicted of various charges, for his hanging in Mashhad, 924 km east of Tehran August 1, 2007.STRINGER/REUTERS

Iran disregarded the wide international outrage regarding the executions of Sunni Kurds in the past weeks by staging a new wave of executions against Kurdish prisoners.

Informed sources said on Tuesday that Iran executed six prisoners from the Uremia Prison, near the Turkish border in northwest Iran.

The sources added that the Iranian Intelligence Apparatus had summoned Sunni Mufti in Kurdistan Hassan Amini and threatened to arrest him if he condemned the latest executions.

Iran’s Human Rights Activists News Agency HRANA has described the new executions as “unjust and full of contradictions.”

HRANA uncovered last minute details that took place before the capital punishment of dozens of prisoners in the Rajaei Shahr prison in the city of Karaj last week.

The report said hundreds of Special Forces members had entered the courtyards of the prison, which has been placed under the protection of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence.

During that day, the prison authorities had dealt with prisoners in a “miraculous” way and allowed them to personally cut and eat fresh meat. It is known that Sunni prisoners do not eat meat offered by guards fearing the animals could be slaughtered in an unusual way.

After allowing prisoners to eat, Special Forces members stormed the prison with tear gas and electric shock devices. Less than an hour after the attack, 37 Sunni prisoners were transported to solitary confinement in the fifth block of the prison, where they were blindfolded and their mouths covered with large tapes.

At dawn the next day, 20 of them were executed, HRANA said.

The human rights agency said that on Monday the families of the seven prisoners who were executed had gathered in front of Uremia Prison, but that authorities had used violence to disperse them.

HRANA said the authorities have threatened the families that they would not receive the corpses if they made statements to the media.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch said Iran has executed at least 230 people since January 1, an average of at least one person per day.

Whitson said: “In 2016, Iran is yet again the regional leader in executions – at least 230 – while it continues to be a laggard in implementing illusory penal code reforms meant to bridge the gap with international standards.”