The media attention surrounding that advocacy and that vote appears to have continued in some media outlets with the start of the current week. For instance, the Huffington Post reposted an Al Arabiya article on that date detailing the crisis of executions and other abuses, complete with some of the findings reported in Shaheed’s latest reports.
The article once again repeated the fact that approximately 1,000 executions had been confirmed as taking place in Iran in the year 2015. But it also emphasized that the regular rate of executions was at its greatest between the months of April and June, during which time an average of four inmates were put to death every day.
Furthermore, Al Arabiya called renewed attention to the problem of Iran’s execution of juvenile offenders, something that has been the subject of various calls to action by human rights groups including Amnesty International. The article notes that as with the overall situation of executions, the internationally-condemned practice of executing persons who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes has not only remained persistent but has grown considerably worse in recent years.
By most estimates, Iran has had the highest per capita rate of executions for a number of years. And now, according to Al Arabiya, it is leading the world in the number of executions of juvenile offenders – a practice that is only known to still take place in a handful of countries .
And as the Human Rights Activists News Agency pointed out on Sunday, there are currently pending cases in Iran that further demonstrate the prevalence of this issue. The most immediate of them is also the latest Iranian subject of an urgent call to action by Amnesty International, which has informed fellow activists that HimanUraminejad is at imminent risk of execution, possibly as soon as April 1.
Uraminejad was convicted of stabbing another boy to death in a fight at the age of 17. He is now 21 years old, suggesting that the judiciary may have moved quickly to carry out his execution soon after he reached a clear, internationally-recognized age of majority. This is standard practice in the case of juvenile death sentences. Although such sentences make it clear that the Iranian judiciary believes it can execute children at young ages, the delay presumably contributes to the Islamic Republic’s efforts to simply deny most of the human rights abuses of which it is accused.
In some cases where Iranian death sentences have been subject to large amounts of international scrutiny and activism, the sentences have even been delayed and sent back to court. This was the case, for instance, in the case of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a young woman who was sentenced to death for apparently fatally stabbing a former intelligence agent who was attempting to rape her. The outcry surrounding the case led to it being delayed for a period of years, yet the death sentence was upheld and ultimately carried out, as it has been in most similar instances.
Years-long delays in the implementation of death sentences may serve to defray both domestic and international scrutiny thereof. And in any event, the Islamic Republic has been fairly successful in concealing some of its abuses either immediately prior to their being carried out or even for years after the fact.
This trend, however, indicates that there is a steady accumulation not only of new cases confirm that Iran’s human rights record remains a problem, but also old cases adding clarity to the international understanding of its former record.
Case in point, human rights organizations reported on Sunday that a three year-old letter written by political prisoners had just been released to the public detailing the torture of 12 members of the Baha’i religious minority at that time. These 12 Baha’is, along with 12 others, were each sentenced to prison terms of six and nine years in January, having been charged with propaganda for practicing and speaking openly about their faith.
The letter details numerous beatings, threats, and an instance of a prisoner being suspended by a rope tied to his wrist. The coverage emphasizes that the letter was plainly ignored by the judiciary, suggesting tacit approval of these methods.
Although the incidents in question predate the Rouhani presidency, the administration has not moved to limit the use of such methods of punishment and interrogation, despite continued activism on those issues. This speaks to a claim made in the Al Arabiya article that even so-called reformist Iranian executives do not speak out against repressive activities, lest they put their own political careers at risk.
In this context, opponents of the Iranian regime tend to see activists as the sole proponents of change. But they can be expected to face great difficult in achieving grassroots reform in light of the persistence of the abuses and repression recently described in the international media. The Human Rights Activists News Agency recently reported, for instance, that a gathering of the families of political prisoners outside of Evin Prison was violently broken up by authorities.