Authorities in Iran packed their luggage last weekend by implementing a number of hasty executions. On Saturday, July 23, they reportedly hanged at least 11 inmates, including political prisoner Iman Sabzikar. As has been the case since its inception, the Iranian regime often implements many death sentences silently, so not all are reported.
Dissidents said, “To intimidate volcanic society and protesters, the regime hanged the political prisoner in public in Shiraz. Dictator [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei would signal that he is still in power by these heinous executions.”
Who Were the Executed Inmates?
According to human rights activists, four inmates were hanged at the Langaroud prison in Qom city. They included Hamed Safaei, Ali-Mohammad Moradi, Bahador Norowzi, and Ali Hosseini. All had been imprisoned and sentenced on alleged drug charges.
Safaei, Moradi, and Norowzi were initially detained in 2019 and were kept at the Langaroud prison until their demise. The judiciary forged a joint case for these inmates despite them being detained separately.
These executions were carried out under the pretext of drug charges, even though the regime’s Parliament [Majlis] has recently planned to commute the death sentences for such offenses to long-term imprisonment. However, the judiciary ceaselessly issues the death penalty and implements it to spread an atmosphere of fear and disappointment.
Authorities deprived these men of a fair trial and ignored their requests for an appeals court. A day earlier, prison officials called their family members to let them visit their loved ones for the last time. A few hours later, the inmates were sent to the gallows and hanged in silence.
At least seven prisoners were executed at the prisons of Zahedan and Zabol in the southeastern province of Sistan & Baluchestan. Two of the victims were identified as Davoud Amirzadeh and Showkat Shahbakhsh.
Authorities also hanged political prisoner Iman Sabzikar in public in Shiraz, the capital of the southcentral province of Fars. This was the first public hanging in two years.
Mr. Sabzikar was an impoverished worker from Juneqan town. Following the regime’s atrocities last February, Shiraz’s rebellious youths countered the security forces at the Bid-Zard police station. During those clashes with the State Security Force (SSF), IRGC Colonel Ali Akbar Ranjbar, the deputy chief of the SSF station who had attacked the people, was killed.
At this time, authorities immediately arrested Mr. Sabzikar, brutally tortured him, and sentenced him to death under the regime’s ‘Qisas’ law. The chief prosecutor in Fars province described Sabzikar’s execution, saying, “Dealing quickly with the case was placed on the agenda, and a preliminary verdict was issued based on retributive laws.”
The IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency quoted the chief prosecutor on July 23, stating, “After preparation for execution of the verdict, he was executed at the place of the incident at 5:40 am.”
The World’s Record-Holder State in Execution
On July 25, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) stated, “Three prisoners in Yazd, including a woman, two prisoners in Birjand, two prisoners in Isfahan, and one prisoner in Qom were hanged on Thursday, July 21, and Wednesday, July 20, respectively. The Iranian Resistance calls on the international community to take urgent action to save the lives of thousands of death row prisoners in various Iranian prisons.”
According to Iran Human Rights Monitor, the regime has executed at least 281 inmates, including women and juvenile offenders, since January 2022. In May and June, the regime hanged 57 and 86 prisoners, respectively, following the nationwide protests against staple food price hikes.
The NCRI Foreign Affairs Commission chair Mohammad Mohaddessin said, “Iran’s regime hanged political prisoner Iman Sabzikar in public in Shiraz on Saturday, the first public execution in two years. The mullahs want to intimidate protesters and dissidents. The Iranian Resistance calls on the international community to immediately condemn this heinous crime.”
The increase in brazen suppression and the number of executions, in particular, shows the regime’s vulnerability to socio-economic protests. In the summer of 2005, on the occasion of world’s day against the death penalty, the late NCRI member Nader Rafieinejad wrote, “Execution is the mullahs’ means to rule.” A statement that remains evident to this day.