Right groups says Iran carried out mass execution of 12 prisoners

PARIS — Iran has carried out a mass execution of 12 inmates at a prison in its southeast, an NGO says today, as concern grows over the rising number of executions in the Islamic Republic.

The 11 men and one woman — convicted either on drugs-related or murder charges — were hanged yesterday morning in the main prison of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province close to the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) says.

They were all members of the Baluch ethnic minority who mainly adhere to the Sunni strain of Islam rather than the Shiism that is dominant in Iran, it adds.

Of the 12, six were sentenced to death for drug-related charges and six were sentenced for murder. None of the executions had been reported by domestic media or confirmed by officials in Iran, it says.

The woman executed — identified only by her surname Gargij — was sentenced for the murder of her husband and arrested in 2019, it says.

Activists have long expressed concern that executions in Iran disproportionately target members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, notably Kurds in the northwest, Arabs in the southwest and Baluch in the southeast.

“Data gathered by Iran Human Rights shows that Baluch prisoners accounted for 21 percent of all executions in 2021, while only representing 2–6 percent of Iran’s population,” IHR adds.

There has also been concern over a recent upsurge of executions in Iran, as the country’s leaders are confronted with protests over price rises for basic goods.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, outlawed in the country, also says that the 12 executions had taken place in Zahedan yesterday.

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