The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Friday criticized [press release] Iran for the mass execution of 20 people this week, calling the action “deplorable.” The prisoners were all convicted of terrorism-related offenses, but the commissioner expressed doubt as to the fairness of those trials, deriding Iran as having expressed a “disdain” toward due process. In his statement, the commissioner called the executions a “grave injustice” and pointed out that many of those killed were part of a religious minority.
Much international pressure has been directed toward Iran in recent years for its human rights abuses. In June UN human rights experts called for the release of artists [JURIST report] jailed by the nation. In March UN rights experts expressed concern [JURIST report] over the overwhelming number of juvenile executions in Iran. Last October UN human rights experts condemned [JURIST report] Iran’s execution of a juvenile offender convicted of murdering her husband whom she was forced to marry at the age of 16. She was executed despite several reports of flaws in her trial and appeals process. Also in October an Iranian Revolutionary Court convicted [JURIST report] Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who was later released. In May of last year UN human rights experts condemned [JURIST report] the growing number of executions in Iran in recent years. According to the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran and on extrajudicial executions, Iran had executed approximately six people per day between April 9 and April 26 and 350 total up to that point.