Dr. Ahmed Shaheed who was “shocked” by the hanging over the weekend of 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, described a “surge in executions,” giving Iran the world’s the highest death penalty rate per capita.
“The range of capital crimes is shocking,” Shaheed told journalists. “We have seen a person executed for making a donation to a foreign organization.”
The rapporteur said he had repeatedly raised with Tehran questions about the fairness of Ms. Reyhaneh Jabbari’s trial.
Iran has executed 852 people since June of last year, including eight juveniles, said the envoy, who is to present his report to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
The surge in executions shows that Rouhani has failed to deliver on campaign promises to improve the human rights situation in his country, a year after taking office, he said.
“He is unable to address the issues, unable to arrest this trend, to convert his promises which spoke to arresting this trend into action,” said Shaheed.
Since his appointment as the UN Speical Rapporteur on Situation of Human Righst in 2011, Dr. Shaheed has never been allowed to visit Iran, but he has spoken to some 400 Iranians, making use of Skype and at times even receiving calls from prison.
Shaheed conveyed the concern from many Iranians that ongoing negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program had allowed human rights to be placed on the back burner.
In his report to the 193-nation Assembly, Shaheed also raised concerns over freedom of the press, noting that 35 journalists are currently behind bars in Iran. At least 300 people are in prison for their religious practices including 120 Bahais and 49 Christians.
The report also touched on a drop in the number of women enrolled at universities, from 62 percent in 2008 to 48 percent last year.
A UN General Assembly is expected next month to vote on a draft resolution put forward by Canada and other nations condemning rights abuses in Iran.