More Mass Executions in the Name of Islam

Iran remains the world leader in executions in 2016.

The Iranian government is relying more and more on mass executions in order to control its citizens. Iranian officials used to keep their executions secret. However, over the last year since the nuclear agreement was reached, Iranian authorities have been showing no fear or concern when it comes to publicly announcing that they have mass-executed a group of people.

Iran is ranked the first in the world, followed by China, when it comes to hanging people.

The mullahs have started the month August by mass executing at least 25 people who are from a religious minority.  Not only did Iran brag about executing these people, but officials also released some of the names of those executed on Tuesday, August 2, in Gohardasht prison in Karaj, northwest of Tehran.

Before executing these people, Iranian authorities tortured them to an extent that some of them lost their vision and hearing, some had heart attacks and kidney infections, and some become incredibly weak before being dragged to the execution site.

Before being executed, one of the prisoners pleaded and wrote to Ahmad Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. In the letter, he pleaded: “I hope that I am tried like a human being, like an accused, in a just court, that I see my lawyer, that he had read my case, that my torturer is not besides my judge, that the judge is not angry and doesn’t say either you go from this Shiite country or you die, that the court is more than 5 minutes and that I am allowed to speak.”

Islamist clerics have charged these people with “enmity against Allah (God),” then convicted and sentenced them to death under Islamic Sharia law. This all occurred without fair trial, access to a lawyer, due process or medical treatments.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, argued, “Iran’s mass execution of prisoners on August 2 at Rajai Shahr prison is a shameful low point in its human rights record.”

Iran has executed at least seven people a week since January 2016 and Iranian authorities are boasting about their execution. Whitson added, “With at least 230 executions since January 1, Iran is yet again the regional leader in executions but a laggard in implementing the so far illusory penal code reforms meant to bridge the gap with international standards…. It is shameful that Iran takes pride in the growing number of executions it carries out rather than being able to boast about its adherence to international fair trial standards…It is critically important to give everyone accused of a crime due process and fair trials, not least when their lives are at stake.”

Iranian leaders are also executing adolescents in the name of Islam. For example, two weeks ago, Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak Prison in Iran's Markazi Province after the Iranian government charged and convicted him of "forced male-to-male anal intercourse" (‘lavat-e be onf’).

Afshar was sentenced soon after he was arrested. He was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested.

As Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International, pointed out accurately, “Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds.” She stressed that “[h]e had no access to a lawyer and the judiciary rushed through the investigation and prosecution, convicting and sentencing him to death within two months of his arrest as though they could not execute him quickly enough.”

According to a 2008 British Wikileaks documents, Iran had executed an average of 200 gays and lesbians every year since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran to 2008. 

Iranian authorities often conduct these executions suddenly without allowing the families of the victims to say their final farewells. As Magdalena Mughrabi, from Amnesty, adds,  “In a cruel stroke of irony, officials did not inform Hassan Afshar of his death sentence for around seven months while he was held in a juvenile detention facility because they did not want to cause him distress – and yet astonishingly were still prepared to execute him. With this execution, Iranian authorities have demonstrated once again their callous disregard for human rights.”

In this latest series of executions, the Iranian government also executed a nuclear scientist who reportedly assisted U.S. intelligence. This nuclear scientist was mentioned in Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, which raises the question whether Clinton’s mishandling of her emails might have contributed to his death sentence by the Iranian government. 

Finally, the major question to ask is: where are the human rights organizations, LGBT groups, liberals and the Obama administration when it comes to condemning these egregious human rights abuses committed by the authoritarian and theocratic regime of Iran?

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