Three Men Accused of Killing Anti-Drug-Trafficking Agents Executed in Eastern Iran
Three prisoners accused of killing law enforcement agents during drug raids were executed in the eastern Iranian province of South Khorasan, according to a press release issued by a local police department on March 14, 2019.
The press release quoted Police Chief Majid Shoja accusing the three of killing two policemen, Mohammad Nayebi and Hadi Kardideh, in October and December 2017 respectively.
Shoja did not give the date of the executions, the names of the prisoners, or any details about their cases but claimed the accused were armed and in possession of drugs at the time of their arrests.
“The police chief of South Khorasan Province said drug traffickers and disrupters of order and public safety will be firmly dealt with,” said a report by the state-funded Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA) quoting from the press release. “He emphasized that the police… will not allow anywhere in this province to be a safe haven for these criminals.”
Sharing borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran’s eastern provinces of North Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, South Khorasan and Sistan and Baluchistan in the south frequently see clashes between alleged drug traffickers and state security forces.
Suffering from high rates of poverty, underdevelopment, and unemployment, the province’s inhabitants are often drawn towards trafficking the drugs that are pouring into Iran from neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Until recently, Iran dealt with drug trafficking crimes by imposing severe penalties, including by applying the death penalty to low-level convictions.
After Parliament began an overhaul of the country’s drug-trafficking law in 2016, rights groups recorded a sharp drop in reported executions from 977 in 2015 according to Amnesty International to 207 from January to October 2018 according to the UN.
However, thousands of death row inmates whose executions were suspended while they are being reviewed under the revised law remain at risk of seeing their death sentences upheld.
According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is illegal to execute someone for crimes committed under the age of eighteen. Iran is a party to both treaties but remains one among a handful of countries still putting juveniles to death.