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Executions, JCPOA & Elections – 2021 Executions Report

Iran Human Rights Organization and the French organization “Together Against the Death Penalty” (ECPM) today, Thursday, April 28, 2022, published their annual report on the executions carried out by the Islamic Republic in 2021 and registered by these two institutions.

The report begins with a preface by Mohammad Rasulov, a critical Iranian filmmaker. He calls “legal and organized killing” a more appropriate description of “the death penalty in Iran.” The violence in which the regime, by “relying on religious-based laws” seeks to make it “necessary and justified” in public opinion and “ultimately normalize” it in the culture of society. Rasulov refers to the crackdown on non-governmental organizations working to abolish the death penalty, calling “cultural awareness” an effective campaign to end the death penalty.

The nearly 120-page report provides statistical details on executions, their geographical spread, ethnicity and minority share, charges and crimes, age range and gender of victims, sentencing courts, and much more.

The report at a glance:

  • At least 333 were executed in 2021. In 2020 and 2019, 267 and 280 were executed, respectively.
  • 83.5% of recorded executions (278) were not announced by officials. They were carried out in secret.
  • At least 183 (55% of executions) were charged with first degree murder.
  • At least 126 (38% of executions in 2021) were charged with drug trafficking crimes, a significant increase from 2020, when 20 (10% of executions in 2020) were due to the same charges.
  • For the first time in the past 15 years, no public execution was reported.
  • At least 2 were “child offenders.”
  • At least 17 were women.
  • At least 139 of the 2021 executions and total of 3,758 since 2010 were ordered by Islamic Revolutionary Courts across Iran.
  • In 2021, at least 705 were forgiven by victims’ families and spared from execution.

In addition to the data for 2021, this report also compares them with the statistics of previous years. In light of this comparison, an objective, statistical, and documented relationship between the severity and frequency of executions and, for example, the nuclear negotiations or what the regime calls “JCPOA” emerges before everyone’s eyes:

The statement that “executions have increased whenever the Islamic Republic has entered into negotiations with other countries” is no longer just a claim; It is a fact. Mahmoud Amiri-Moghaddam, director of the Iran Human Rights Organization, says: “The critical human rights situation and the high number of executions in the Islamic Republic have never been part of the JCPOA talks. It seems like the regime officials are more free to escalating human rights abuses during political negotiations.”

Another fact that the report on executions in Iran in 2021 makes very clear is that there is a context between the “elections” and the “organized killing of citizens” by the Islamic Republic:

In the first 18 days of June, until the day of the thirteenth presidential election (June 18, 2021), which recorded the lowest turnout in the contemporary history of Iran, we see that only one case of execution was recorded and in the second half of the same month, without wasting time, the Islamic Republic hanged at least 10 people and killed 51 the following month.

In light of this analogy, another proposition is formed; cold and logical: “The Islamic Republic allows its citizens to elect their executioner before they are killed.”

Translation of this post by Sahar.



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