Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 1, 2023: Massoud Eshaghzehi, an Afghan national sentenced to death for drug-related charges, was executed in Zabol Prison.
According to Hal Vash, an Afghan national was executed in Zabol Prison on 1 August. His identity has been reported as 30-year-old Massoud Eshaghzehi, a father of two.
Massoud was arrested for drug-related charges around two years ago and sentenced to death by the Zabol Revolutionary Court. He was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution the night prior.
At the time of writing, his execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.
It is important to note that Afghan nationals constitute the largest group of non-Iranian executions and death row cases in Iranian prisons. In 2021, no execution of Afghan nationals was recorded until September, when five men were executed in the space of 35 days. On 10 October 2021, Iran Human Rights expressed its concern that the Taliban takeover in August had facilitated the execution of Afghan nationals. That number more than tripled in 2022, with 16 Afghan nationals including a juvenile offender and a woman executed. At least 12 Afghans have been executed in 2023 so far, with two publicly hanged on 8 July.
Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year for the past three years. 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.