[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called on Iran Friday to immediately stop all executions [press release], including 11 planned for Saturday. The OHCHR stated that Iran has failed to provide the accused with due process and fair trials and that the death penalty is not appropriate for certain crimes for which Iran is using it, including drug offenses. The UN has repeatedly called on Iran to abandon the death penalty, but instead the country has increased the number of people it is executing. More than 300 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2012, mostly for drug charges, and many more are believed to be on death row.
Iran has been heavily criticized for its use of the death penalty. In June three UN Special Rapporteurs condemned [JURIST report] Iran for executing four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority without providing them fair trials. The three UN Special Rapporteurs further stated that there is no transparency to Iranian court proceedings and that the death penalty should be reserved for only the most serious of crimes. In November the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] about the protection of individuals’ rights in Iran, including the frequency of the use of the death penalty. In January 2011, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran claimed that Iran is on an “execution binge” [JURIST report], killing one prisoner every eight hours. In January 2010 Amnesty International [advocacy website] condemned [JURIST report] Iran for executing 11 individuals on charges of mohareb, or being enemies of God, after appearing in televised show trials for their roles in post-election protests in 2009 .