20 More Executions in Mashad Amidst Continued Silence from the Judiciary
Following the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’s reports of secret group executions without due process inside Mashad’s Vakilabad prison, local sources told the Campaign that nine more people were executed on 30 November. The source also reported of 11 executions of individuals for drug-related crimes on 9 November. Counting the other 10 prisoners who were executed on 26 October, in less than two months 30 executions have been carried out inside Vakilabad prison. According to reports from informed sources, 23 other prisoners were hung inside the prison in early October. These executions are not included in official statistics released by the Judiciary to government media.
The inmates were hung inside Vakilabad’s Security Ward. According to sources, the executions that took place on 9 and 30 November did not follow laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran and were carried out without the knowledge and presence of the lawyers and families of those executed. “As in previous instances, those executed did not know about the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld their death sentences and executions until just a few hours before the death sentences were carried out. The written confirmation of the Supreme Court’s ruling was not served to the convicts, nor their lawyers or families; the documents were only sent to Mashad Prosecutor’s Office for implementation.” Previously, the said sources told the Campaign that several of these cases have major ambiguities with respect to the judicial review process.
“Some of those executed were professional smugglers, and some of them were petty smugglers. But authorities refuse to announce the executions. The way the convicts are executed and the lack of publicity about what is happening inside Vakilabad prison suggests that judicial authorities do not wish these execution statistics to be added to the annual statistics of the country,” said the source. Currently, Iran and China are at the top of the world list for the number of annual executions.
In October, Prosecutor General Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi implicitly spoke about the ineffectiveness of executions of some smugglers. “Some of the people who are found possessing drugs are not the main smugglers and don’t benefit financially from this. The real smuggler hires these individuals and deceives them. While he is sitting in a safe place, another individual is tried and maybe even executed in his place,” he said. (Fars News Agency)
“Transporting more than 30 grams of heroin will lead to the death penalty. According to the new law, transporting and distributing psychedelic substances and industrial uppers are recognized at the same level as heroin,” said the Deputy Head of the government’s Anti-Drug Organization.
The said source claimed that in 2009, nearly 250 similar executions took place in this prison, very few of which were reported by the media.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has called on Iranian judicial authorities to provide explanations about the alarming number of executions of drug-related criminals, and to announce the real number of executions carried out in Vakilabad prison. So far, judicial authorities have not reacted to this request.