IRAN: DISSIDENTS - 'GOVERNMENT KILLS TO INSTILL FEAR'
February 22, 2010: according to the International Network Iran Human Rights 2009 Report there were 402 executions in Iran in 2009, 20% more than the year before.
The report was presented in Bari, Iraly, by Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, IHR spokesperson, during the 'Spring of Rights', a cultural event on civil and human rights around the world organised by Regione Puglia and the Pugliese Public Theatre.
Of the 402 executions last year, almost all were by hanging, while there was one confirmed the stoning of a man. This peak continues the upward trend from 2007, when there were 317 executions. Among those executed were 13 women and at least fives youths who were under 18 years of age either when they committed the crime or when they were executed. One of these minors was Delara, who was accused of murder at 17 years old and who always maintained her innocence. She was taken from her home six years later, without the knowledge of her family or lawyers, and executed.
'They are about to kill me' were the only words she managed to say on the telephone to her mother before being taken away.
Amiry-Moghaddam reported that, officially, the executions comprised 140 people sentenced to death for drug trafficking, 56 for murder, 31 for being 'moharebeh' (an enemy of god), and 2 for indecent acts.
Amongst those executed were people presumed innocent (like Behnoud, sentenced for a crime that he maintained he did not commit and whose execution was delayed five times) and dissidents (Kouhyar, 26, a student at Tehran Polytechnic who was expelled by the University, arrested and hanged for writing against the regime and the death penalty on Facebook).
'Arbitrary executions are used to cause terror,' Amiry-Moghaddam said.
The peak in executions is almost as high as June last year during the Iranian elections (50 executions in May and 94 in July, 50 of them in Tehran alone). Moreover, despite a government ordinance on January 31, 2008, which essentially banned public hangings, last year nine were hanged in public.
When a group of dissidents managed to free two people sentenced to death on December 22, they were quickly recaptured by the police and hanged in jail. (Sources: ANSA, 22/02/2010)