Cartoon 65: The More Things Change
Since President Hassan Rouhani took office this August, Iran has executed more than 200 people. This sharp increase in the number of executions, specifically among drug traffickers and Kurdish activists, has created concern among civil society that extremist groups in the Iranian Judiciary and security apparatus have adopted this violent approach to show that the status quo remains. Iran has hanged 40 people over the past ten days. On November 3 and 4 alone, authorities executed 12 people in different cities in Iran.
In addition, Iranian Judiciary officials have failed to follow through on their announcement in September to release more than 80 prisoners of conscience during the recent religious holidays. They have only released 42 prisoners of conscience, many of them having completed or being near completion of their prison terms. Hundreds of prisoners of conscience remain behind bars. Three political dissidents and leaders of the post-2009 protests, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard, will mark 1000 days under house arrest on November 10, 2013.