IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. With an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per 167.000 inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities. This is significantly higher than in 2016 when 298 of 533 executions were not announced by official sources. Some of these executions were carried out secretly, without the family or the lawyer being informed, and some have simply not been announced by the official media. Only unofficial reports with a sufficient amount of information have been included in this report. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher. In 2017, IHR received reports of secret or unannounced executions from 31 different locations across the country.
Documentation of unannounced executions
IHR’s network inside the country received information about many executions which are not announced by the official media. Confirming these reports is a challenging task as the media is either directly controlled or under strong scrutiny by the authorities. Reporting human rights violations to human rights organizations is regarded as a crime and the people involved face criminal charges. Despite this, every year IHR manages to confirm several hundred cases of executions which are not announced by the authorities. In many cases, information about executions is verified by two or more independent sources. In some cases, IHR receives pictures which can document the execution. In many cases, pictures, along with the names of the prisoners, were sent to IHR. Some of these pictures are shown below.
Geographic distribution of announced and unannounced/secret executions
As in previous years, the big prisons in the Karaj/Tehran area were the sites of the highest number of both officially announced and unannounced executions. More details are provided in the following section.
This diagram shows the official (green) and unofficial/unannounced (yellow) executions in the three prisons of Karaj (Alborz province) which house prisoners from the provinces of Tehran and Alborz. However, there are also prisoners from the rest of the country in these prisons. These include the prisons of Ghezelhesar, Rajaishahr and the Central Prison of Karaj (also called Nedamatgah). All three prisons are located in Alborz Province. Prisoners at Ghezelhesar prison and Nedamatgah are mainly convicted of drug offences while in Rajaishahr the largest number belongs to those convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas. Most of the executions carried out in the abovementioned prisons in 2017 were not announced by official sources.
Geographic distribution of executions in the rest of country
The diagram above shows the geographical distribution of the official (green) and unofficial/unannounced (yellow) executions in other parts of Iran, excluding the Tehran/Karaj area. The prisons in the provinces of West Azerbaijan (northwest), Khorasan Razavi (northeast), East Azerbaijan (northwest) and Sistan and Baluchestan (southeast) had the highest number of executions.