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1980s Political Prisoner Ali Saber Motlagh Executed; 700+ Executions in 2023

30 Nov 23
1980s Political Prisoner Ali Saber Motlagh Executed; 700+ Executions in 2023

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 30, 2023: Ali Saber Motlagh, a 62-year-old former political prisoner was executed along with Mohsen Sedaghat and an unnamed woman in Rasht Central Prison. IHRNGO has recorded 707 executions in 2023, an unprecedented number in the last eight years. Executions have spiked since the start of the war in Gaza, with at least 176 people executed in 54 days.

Iran Human Rights calls for urgent international attention to the recent wave of executions including that of political prisoners in Iran.

Director, Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam said: “The international community and especially European countries, must break their silence on the arbitrary execution of more than three people per day by the Islamic Republic. The critical human rights situation in Iran and the death penalty in particular, must not be compromised for political and regional considerations. The international community’s silence on executions is considered a green light by the Islamic Republic.”

Political prisoner (Geda) Ali Saber Motlagh was executed in Rasht Central Prison on 25 November 2023. He was a political prisoner in the 1980s, the height of the political executions and repression. He was arrested for membership in the Mojahedin-e-Khalgh (MEK) and killing a government official on 28 August 1981, which he was acquitted of due to a lack of evidence. Ali Saber Motlagh was rearrested for the same murder upon returning to Iran around four years ago and sentenced to death despite the lack of evidence.

It is not clear whether he was executed for murder (qisas as retribution-in-kind) or moharebeh (enmity against god) charges. Ali Saber Motlagh had always denied any involvement in the murder.

IHRNGO has also obtained information about the execution of a man and a woman along with Ali Saber Motlagh on 25 November. Both were sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder. The man’s identity has been established as 45-year-old Mohsen Sedaghat. The woman’s identity has not been established at the time of writing.

An informed source told IHRNGO: “Mohsen Sedaghat was arrested for the murder of one of his relatives four years ago and sentenced to death.”

Executions have dramatically increased in recent months, with at least 176 people executed since 7 October. Iran Human Rights has recorded 707 executions in 2023. Of those, 390 were sentenced to death for drug-related charges and 238 for murder charges. A child, 17 women and six protesters were amongst those executed.