Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); October 19, 2023: At least ten men who all appear to have been sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Qezel Hesar Prison. Per initial reports, the number of executions may be higher.
Strongly condemning the group executions in Iran, IHRNGO calls on the international community for a strong reaction. Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which collaborates with the Islamic Republic on combating drug trafficking, has an obligation to take action against arbitrary drug executions. The UN’s silence on these executions is a green light of approval.”
According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, at least ten men were executed in Qezel Hesar Prison in Karaj on 18 October. One of the men’s identities has been established as Hojat Beg Rezaei who was sentenced to death for drug-related charges.
HRANA news agency has reported the identities of two others as Shahab Shahbazi and Mohammad Behzadi who were also on death row for drug-related charges.
The identities and exact charges against the other seven men have not been established at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, at least four other drug death row prisoners have been transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions in Karaj Penitentiary which is located near Qezel Hesar Prison.
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. At least 305 people were executed for drug-related charges between 1 January-10 October 2023, a 69% increase compared to the same period in 2022, and the number of drug-related executions in 2023 were close to 20 times higher than 2020. In October 2023, at least 35 people have been executed for the charges so far. Yet, the UNODC and the funding Member States have remained silent about this exponential rise.
Read IHRNGO's report on drug-related executions for the occasion of World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October 2023: