At dawn on Wednesday, September 29, authorities in Iran hanged Abbasgholi Salehi, 42, in Isfahan Central Prison. According to human rights activists, he was executed while spent all of the past 20 years behind the bars.
Mr. Salehi had been detained 20 years ago and spent all these years behind the bars without furlough. On Tuesday, the authorities had transferred him to solitary confinement and called his family to visit their loved one for the last time.
The call prompted Mr. Salehi’s relatives and friends to rally in front of the prison, protesting the unjust execution. Around 200 people spent the night outside the prison; however, authorities hanged Mr. Salehi despite the people’s protest.
The Iranian government continues executing inmates for drug-related accusations despite the Parliament (Majlis) bill, which rejected the death penalty for drug-related charges.
This is flagrant hypocrisy within the Islamic Republic regime in Iran and shows that the state uses death sentences to terrify society and nip public protests in the bud, dissidents believe.
Furthermore, inmates in Iran are systematically deprived of their legal rights, including a fair and transparent trial based on the ‘presumption of innocence,’ access to their lawyer, and more often than not, they are sentenced to severe punishments in kangaroo trials and without reliable evidence and testimonies.
The ayatollahs’ penal code has been set to facilitate executions, dissidents say. There are enormous charges such as ‘waging war on God or Moharebeh,’ ‘corruption on earth,’ ‘disrupting the public order,’ and ‘action and assemble against the national security,’ in the Islamic Republic’s constitution, which results in the death penalty.
Autocrats, indeed, fit various cases with such ‘offenses’ and lead hundreds of people to the gallows every year. In this context, Iran is the record-holder of executions per capita across the globe. In 2020, at least 270 inmates, including political and civil activists, women, and juvenile offenders, were hanged, according to human rights activists.
Iran: Nine Executions in Six Days
Meanwhile, Iranian authorities hanged at least nine inmates in less than a week, which shows an accelerating rate in implementing death penalties following Ebrahim Raisi’s presidency and Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i’s appointment as the judiciary chief.
On September 25, authorities hanged Ahmad Farouhid, 45, in Boroujerd Prison. He was from Zanjan province; however, was convicted in Boroujerd and hanged there.
On the same day, two other prisoners were executed in the Adilabad Prison. They were identified as Vahab Samadi, 42 and from Semnan province, and Sohrab Naji by human rights activists.
According to the human rights association No to Prison – No to Execution, authorities hanged Arshad Joudat-Rabt, 52, in Zanjan Central Prison on September 21. He was from Urmia, the capital of the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan. Mr. Joudat-Rabt was married and the father of three children.
He was detained on unclear charges in Zanjan province four years ago. Security forces initially avoided informing his family about the charges. However, they later accused Mr. Joudat-Rabt of drug-related charges and hanged him.
On the same day, the authorities executed Abed Khodaverdi, 40, in the same prison. “Mr. Khodaverdi was around 40 years old and had been arrested and convicted to the death penalty since four years ago,” the Human Rights Organization of Iran reported.
A day earlier, Iranian authorities had hanged two Afghan inmates on drug-related charges at Taybad Prison in the northeastern province of Razavi Khorasan. One of them was from the Afghani province of Herat. He was married and spent the past three years at the prison. There is no further information on his case.
Previously, Iranian authorities had secretly executed two Afghan inmates, Ali Morad and Heibat Rouzbi. The state-run media has yet to report these executions, which has raised suspicions over the real number of secret executions of Afghan nationalities.
On September 23, two more inmates were hanged in Karaj Central Prison and Rajaei-Shahr Prison, both in Alborz province. One of the victims was identified as Mostafa Shafiei. He was detained in 2018. The name and details of the other victim are still unknown.
Suspicious Deaths in Iran
During this period, there were several suspicious deaths in various prisons. On September 21, 48-year-old Shahin Nasseri died under unclear circumstances at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary. He was a witness to the torture of the late Navid Afkari, a national wrestling champion who was executed for participating in peaceful protests last year.
Subsequently, former political prisoner Arash Sadeghi revealed that judicial official Afshin Mohammadi Darreh-Shouri had time and again threatened Shahin with death due to his revelations over Navid Afkari’s torture.
Furthermore, 23-year-old Kurdish prisoner Amir-Hossein Hatami died in the same prison two days later. In a heartbreaking video, his mother severely blasted the judiciary for beating and torturing her loved one, which resulted in Amir-Hossein’s death.