By Kaveh Ghoreishi, Rooz Online
According to figures released by officials or official agencies of the Islamic republic, at least 58 people, including two women, were hanged in Iran in the past month. Human rights activists tell Rooz that while the announced reasons for executions in Iran are criminal offences, they in fact take place with political goals.
Hanging of a rapist in Kerman in January 2013
In an interview with Rooz, Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for the Iran Human Rights Organization, a group that tracks and documents executions and death sentences in Iran predicted that executions would rise in Iran until about two weeks prior to the presidential election day, currently set for June 14.
These individuals, whose names have been formally announced, were all executed on charges related to drug offences. Most executions in Iran are announced to be related to drug issues.
Moghadam said that in the period between April 16 and May 17 of this year at least 58 individuals were officially announced to have faced the death penalty, while there are also other non-official or secret cases that have been documented, which includes the three individuals who were executed on May 15 in Rajai Shahr prison in the town of Karaj.
This human rights group which is based in Norway published the names of two of these individuals as Hamid Shahriari and Hossein Nasiri.
Moghadam added that 13 of the 58 were executed in public. On May 16 three individuals were hanged in public in the Azadi (Freedom) Square of Kermanshah.
Public hangings are a feature of executions in Islamic countries that differentiate them from executions that are carried out in other countries.
Iran occupies the position of having the second largest number of annual executions, after China, something that is widely criticized by human rights groups. In his interview, Moghadam said, "We had anticipated that the number of executions and hangings would rise prior to the elections and had issued a statement to this effect." He said executions in Iran had a political motif even though official announcements present them as non-political.
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