Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 1, 2023: Hossein Gomashadzehi, Yousef Kalbali and an unidentified Baluch man sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were secretly executed in Zahedan Central Prison.
According to Hal Vash, three Baluch men were secretly executed in Zahedan Central Prison on 1 August. Two of the men’s identities have been reported as 72-year-old Hossein Gomshadzehi and 30-year-old Yousef Kalbali. The third man’s identity has not been established at the time of writing.
Hossein Gomshadzehi was a farmer and had been married twice with 23 children. He had denied the charges in court, stating that he had been framed for the drugs found in an abandoned building on his farm.
An informed source said: “Hossein was arrested for drug-related charges in Zabol around five years ago and sentenced to death by the Zabol Revolutionary Court. He was transferred from Zabol Prison to Zahedan Central Prison 28 days ago and transferred to solitary confinement from Ward 7 of the prison. He was executed this morning without his family being notified and the last visit with them.”
Yousef Kalbali was from the village of Deh Deraz in Zahak county. He was a father of three who was arrested around two years ago
At the time of writing, none of their executions have been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.
Ethnic minorities, the Baluch in particular, are grossly overrepresented in execution numbers in Iran. In 2022, at least 174 Baluch minorities including 3 women, were executed in 22 prisons across Iran, making up 30% of overall executions. This is while they represent just 2-6% of Iran’s population. Furthermore, in the first six months of 2023, 20% of the at least 354 executions were Baluch people.
Baluch minorities also represented almost half of drug-related executions in 2022. 47.3% of the 256 people executed for drug-related charges were Baluch.
Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year for the past three years. At least 206 people were executed for drug-related charges in the first six months of 2023, a 126% rise compared to the same period in 2022 when 91 were executed. 40 people were executed in the same period in 2021.
The number of drug executions dramatically dropped in 2018 following a 2017 Amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Laws. Consequently, drug executions ranged between 24-30 per annum between 2018-2020. The Amendment was reversed in practice in 2021 when executions increased ten-fold to 126 in 2021 and doubled again in 2022 with 256 drug-related executions.