Amnesty International on Tuesday condemned the execution of two financial criminals in Iran, calling it an “unfair TV show trial.”
“Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther. “[B]ut it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television.”
The two men, trader Vahid Mazloumin and one of his associates, were executed for spreading “corruption on earth,” a statute based in Islamic law and punishable by death. They were accused of hoarding gold with the intent to flood the market and drive down the value of the Rial, which has been inflating at a rate of 24.7 percent; some believe this is caused by international sanctions.
Amnesty called the trial “inherently unfair” because they were denied access to lawyers of their choosing and had no chance to appeal the court’s ruling. Additionally, the televised “show trials” were alleged to be embarrassing to the prisoners.
In August Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched special courts to sentence crimes including financial corruption. This comes after a recent economic downturn and a series of sweeping judicial reforms that now allow white-collar criminals to be executed for financial fraud and corruption.
Iran carries out the most executions per capita of any nation on earth. In 2017 executions in Iran constituted 55 percent of the world total, and one can face the death penalty for crimes such as sodomy, burglary and atheism. 80 percent of executions in Iran are the result of drug crimes. Oftentimes the executions are public and, in 2017, at least five children under the age of 18 were executed.
“With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life,” concluded Luther in the Amnesty report.