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4 Baluch Including Woman Executed for Drug Offences in Birjand

1 May
4 Baluch Including Woman Executed for Drug Offences in Birjand

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 1, 2024: Mehdi Eshterak, Mohammad Shehbakhsh, Mahmoud Gorgij and an unidentified woman, all Baluch minorities on death row for drug-related charges, were executed in Birjand Central Prison.

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, four Baluch people were executed for drug-related charges in Birjand Central Prison on 30 April. The three men’s identities have been reported as Mehdi Eshterak, Mohammad Shehbakhsh and Mahmoud Gorgij. The woman has not been identified

At the time of writing, none of their executions have been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Iran is the biggest executioner of women. In 2023, at least 22 women were executed for drug-related, murder and security-related charges in Iran. The unidentified woman is the sixth woman to be executed in 2024.

Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year since 2021. According to IHRNGO’s 2023 Annual Report on the Death Penalty, at least 471 people were executed for drug-related charges, an 84% increase compared to 2022 (256) and about 18 times the average of drug-related executions in 2018-2020. Baluch minorities who constitute 2-6% of Iran’s population, made up 30% of drug executions and 20% of all executions in 2023.

On 10 April 2024, 80+ Iranian and international organisations and groups called for joint action to stop drug-related executions, urging UNODC to make “any cooperation with the Islamic Republic contingent on a complete halt on drug-related executions.”