Iran Executed 600 prisoners in 2011 Says Amnesty International

Stop Fundamentalism – The Iranian government has executed 600 offenders this year, the international human rights organization, Amnesty International said Thursday.  The organization says it has recorded 600 executions from both official and unofficial sources this year. 

About 81 percent of those killed were drug offenders.  This number is at least three times the official announced number for 2009.  Amnesty expresses concern that the victims would be from the most impoverished portion of the country’s populations.

"To try to contain their immense drug problem, the Iranian authorities have carried out a killing spree of staggering proportions, when there is no evidence that execution prevents drug smuggling any more effectively than imprisonment" said Amnesty International's Interim Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Ann Harrison.

Amnesty wants’ Iran to abolish death penalty for all crimes ultimately but is calling for a stop on execution of drug offenders as the first step which would “cut the overall number significantly.”

Many observers believe that Iranian authorities use executions as the means for containing social dissent rather than fighting drug issues.

Amnesty stresses that in all cases executions have followed unfair trials and usually families and lawyers of those accused have received little or no warning when the executions has been carried out.

Members of minorities and foreign nationals (mostly from Afghanistan) are most at risk of execution in Iran, says Amnesty in an statement released today adding, there are 4000 Afghan citizens currently on death row in Iran.

In the year 2009, the total number of executions in Iran was 389 according to Amnesty International.  The number rose to 550 in 2010 and now at the end of 2011 the figures are said to be at, at least 600.

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