Executions in Iran reach highest level since 1989 – UN

Executions in Iran surged to nearly 1,000 in 2015, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Iran said on Thursday, the highest level in more than a quarter-century.

The UN investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, said in a report to the Human Rights Council that at least 966 people were executed in the country last year, roughly double the number executed in 2010 and 10 times as many as were executed in 2005.

According to annual figures on capital punishment compiled by Amnesty International, the 2015 figure for Iran is the highest since 1989, when more than 1,500 people were executed. 

Mr. Shaheed’s report, presented at the UN Human Rights Council’s session in Geneva, came less than two months after Amnesty International said Iran was a leading executioner of juvenile offenders. Amnesty said more than 160 condemned Iranian juveniles were on death row.

Month-by-month figures in Mr. Shaheed’s report showed that executions increased fairly steadily in the first half of 2015, reaching 136 in June — more than four per day — which the investigator called “especially alarming,” the New York Times wrote on Friday

Mr. Shaheed also criticized Iran’s regime for what he described as its “widening crackdown on freedom of expression and opinion” last year, despite pledges by the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani to relax constraints.

Mr. Shaheed, a former foreign minister of the Maldives, was appointed to the special rapporteur post in 2011. The authorities in Iran have never permitted him to visit. He conducts much of his research through contacts with human rights activists and others inside Iran.

As the Human Rights Council holds its latest session in Geneva, some 40 Iranian political prisoners have written to the global body urging it to extend Mr. Shaheed’s mandate as Special Rapporteur.