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4 Baluch Men Executed for Drug Charges in Zahedan

21 Aug 23
4 Baluch Men Executed for Drug Charges in Zahedan

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 21, 2023: Abdolsamad Khadem, Yaghoub Ejbari, Mohammad Anwar Barahouyi and Mr Ghanbarzehi, four Baluch men sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Zahedan Central Prison.

According to Hal Vash, at least four Baluch men were executed in Zahedan Central Prison on 21 August. Their identities have been reported as 29-year-old Abdolsamad Khadem from Zahak, Yaghoub Ejbari, a father of eight from the village of Gharghouk in Zahedan, Mohammad Anwar Barahouyi from Zahedan and a man only identified as Mr Ghanbarzehi. They were all sentenced death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court.

An informed source was quoted: “Abdolsamad was arrested in Zahak for drug-related charges around five years ago and sentenced to death by the Zabol Revolutionary Court. He was transferred from Zabol Prison to Zahedan Central Prison for execution around a month ago. Yaghoub was arrested for drug-related charges in Zahedan around four years ago and sentenced to death by the city’s revolutionary court. He was transferred to solitary confinement from the general ward the morning prior to execution.”

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.

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.