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Undocumented Baluch Brothers Asef and Aref Eshaghzehi Secretly Executed

28 Jan
Undocumented Baluch Brothers Asef and Aref Eshaghzehi Secretly Executed

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 28, 2024: Asef and Aref Eshaghizadeh, two undocumented Baluch brothers on death row for drug-related charges, were secretly executed in Birjand Central Prison.

According to Haal Vsh, two undocumented Baluch men were executed in Birjand Central Prison on 28 January. Their identities have been reported as 24-year-old Aref Eshaghzehi and 30-year-old Asef Eshaghzehi from Zabol.

The two brothers were arrested in Birjand around two years ago and sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court. They were executed without notification, denying them the right to say goodbye to their families.

At the time of writing, their executions have not 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 2-5% of Iran’s population. Furthermore, at least 274 Baluch people have been executed for drug-related charges since 2021, 40% of all drug executions in that time period.

Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year for the past three years. 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.

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. On 13 September 2023, IHRNGO reported a 94% rise in the number of drug-related executions in the year following the start of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in September 2022.