Prior to the executions, Mr. Shaheed had appealed to the Iranian regime, pleading not to go ahead with the executions in the Karaj Central Prison. He reminded that death penalty should only be applied for “the most serious crimes.” Mr. Shaheed stressed that the regime’s concern over drug abuse issues “does not justify the use of the death penalty in drug-related cases.”

Although drug trafficking is a serious problem in Iran, the rights of the 12 prisoners, including Alireza Madadpour, were not respected and therefore their execution was unlawful by international standards. In Mr. Madadpour’s case, Mr. Shaheed expressed that there was no “fair trial that respects the most stringent due process guarantees.” 

By ignoring Mr. Shaheed’s concerns as a UN Human Rights Council representative, the Iranian government has broken all international conventions. Mr. Shaheed condemned this ignorance by stating that “the execution of Mr. Madadpour and 11 others shows the Iranian authorities’ complete disregard of its obligations under international human rights law and especially of international fair trial standards and due process guarantees.”

These executions are even more worrying in the light of the recent shocking events in Iran. Earlier in August, 25 Sunni prisoners were mass-executed without a fair trial, echoing the 1988 massacre which saw more than 30,000 executed unlawfully, including pregnant women and children. Many Iranians fear that another tragedy of this calibre may occur, considering that many officials who oversaw the 1988 executions now enjoy positions of power in the current Iranian government

Mr. Shaheed, who has been appointed as the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran by the UN since 2011, called on the Iranian government to put an immediate end to all executions in Iran and to prohibit the death penalty.