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Hadi Hadi Khanlu and Baluch Mehdi Gorgij Executed in Zanjan

8 Mar
Hadi Hadi Khanlu and Baluch Mehdi Gorgij Executed in Zanjan

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); March 8, 2024: At least two prisoners including Hadi Hadi Khanlu and Mehdi Gorgij were executed for drug-related charges in Zanjan Central Prison.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, at least two men including a Baluch minority, were executed in Zanjan Central Prison on 7 March. Their identities have been established 42-year-old Hadi Hadi Khanlu and Mehdi Gorgij, a 50-year-old Baluch man from Zahak (photo). They were sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court in separate cases.

An informed source told Iran Human Rights: “Hadi Hadi Khanlu was from Takestan and had been arrested for charges of carrying drugs around three years ago in Zanjan. He was executed while he had two co-defendants, one of whom was released less than two years after arrest and the other had received an eight-year custodial sentence. Mehdi Gorgij was also arrested for drug charges four years ago in Urmia and sentenced to death by the Zanjan Revolutionary Court.”

They were transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their execution along with two murder death row prisoners on 28 February. There is no news about the fate of the other two men.

Ethnic minorities, the Baluch in particular, are grossly overrepresented in execution numbers in Iran. In 2023, at least 167 Baluch minorities including four women, were executed in 27 prisons across Iran, accounting for 20% of overall executions. This is while they represent just 2-6% of Iran’s population.

Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year for the past three years. According to IHRNGO’s Annual Report on the Death Penalty, at least 471 people were executed for drug-related charge, an 84% increase compared to 2022 (256) and about 18 times the average of drug-related executions in 2018-2020.