Iran Human Rights (MAR 15 2016): Karaj's Ghezelhesar Prison, also called the death camp, is home to more than 3,000 prisoners sentenced to death for drug related charges.
IIHR's 8th annual report reveals that in 2015 at least 200 prisoners were executed in Ghezelhesar Prison, and they were all on death row for drug related offenses. The executions in this prison dramatically increased after a group of the death row prisoners gathered peacefully in the courtyard on May 21, 2015, calling on the Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei to reduce their sentences. In the five weeks following the peaceful gathering more than 70 prisoners were hanged in groups of 11 to 17. One of the 13 prisoners who was transferred for execution on May 31 2015, attempted to postpone his execution by stabbing another prisoner on death row. When a prisoner who is sentenced to death for drug related charges commits a murder, his death sentence for drug related charges is postponed, since “qisas” (retribution in kind) is given higher priority. On its website IHR has published several interviews with death row prisoners in Ghezelhesar.
Photo on the left is of the peaceful gathering in the Ghezelhesar prison courtyard on May 21, 2015. Prisoners carried banners calling on Iran’s Supreme leader to reduce their sentence to life in prison. Most of the prisoners were executed during the following days and weeks. Photo: Iran Human Rights
CASE: Innocent school teacher, Mahmood Barati. No prior criminal record and the father of a three-year-old boy when he was arrested in 2006 on a trumped up drug related charge. Sentenced to death solely based on the false testimony of a drug convict, a testimony that was later withdrawn on two separate occasions. Despite this, Iranian authorities still executed Mahmood in Ghezelhesar Prison on September 7, 2015. According to witness testimonies, Mahmood had been tortured and forced to confess.