Once upon a time, it seemed impossible to imagine a world without the death penalty. Dictators used the gallows to strangle any opposing voice. They pursued to insinuate the people that there is only a way to counter crimes, and it is the physical removal of criminals and guilty people.
Therefore, none dared challenge this violent sentence in fear of being accused by rulers of seeking to escape punishment.
However, the reality shows that the number of death penalties for political interests or ethnic and racial cleansing is much more than executions for committing crimes. This is because only criminals can persuade themselves to use this brutal penalty against others.
Iran, the record holder of executions per capita
Today, while many nations have abolished the death penalty or are moving toward abolishing it, some governments still insist on killing people under the excuse of reducing crimes in society. One of these governments is the Islamic Republic system in Iran, which seeks to justify the death sentence under “religious rituals”.
In fact, the Iranian government’s human rights violations under the excuse of enforcing the law never diminished crimes in the country. Instead, it ranked Iran as the world record holder of executions per capita.
Using the death penalty as a tool for oppression
In this regard, Iranian rulers’ weakness in resolving crises pushed them to use the noose as a solution for any social, cultural, and economic issue. On the other hand, they practice the death sentence as the main tool to crackdown on dissidents and opponents.
Mass executions in the Islamic Republic
During the summer of 1988, the Islamic Republic committed an enormous massacre of political prisoners and executed more than 30,000 people, most of them members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Iranian authorities buried victims in unknown mass graves across Iran. Many families of the victims are still looking for the graves of their loved ones, and authorities refrain from informing them.
In this context, the 1988 massacre of MEK members were the most important mass killing in Iran. The Iranian government continues to employ this inhuman penalty regularly, and occasionally in public. During the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, who touts himself as a moderate, 3,800 people were executed in Iran, including teenagers, women, political dissidents, and religious and ethnic minorities.
What is expected of the international community?
In conclusion, the civilized world should never turn a blind eye to what is happening in Iran, and should never satisfy to the reduction of the number of executions for a short while. The international community and human rights organizations must compel the Iranian government to respect human rights conventions and behave like a normal state toward its citizens and should be accountable for the 1988 massacre of MEK members.