Years of struggle to abolish the death penalty in Iran has not offered any hope of judicial authorities changing their conduct. On the contrary, the execution machine is taking victims more unrestrained than before. In recent years, Iran has had the highest rate of executions per capita in the world and remains one of the few countries that still executes juvenile offenders.

The Islamic Republic judicial system has proven that it is not acting independently and it lacks the fair standards of fair due process. The judicial system acts in flagrant violation of the most basic principles of human rights and even the laws of the country. The complaints and pursuits of victims of the judicial system never bear fruit, and in many cases, due to the interference of security forces, the defendant is executed even before the judicial process is concluded. Lawyers and defense attorneys, defenders of prisoner’s rights, and human rights activists are not immune to the threats and intimidation of security and judicial institutions. The families of the victims are also subjected to extreme pressures.

There are no official statistics of the death sentences issued and/or carried out in Iran. The ruling establishment has never been transparent in providing information on this subject. However, based on the numbers obtained from news reports by various media outlets, in 2009, at least 400 people were executed in Iran. Despite all this, the judicial system continues to issue and carry out death sentences. This trend has been continuing relentlessly for the past 32 years and has aggrieved and adversely affected Iranian society.

The judicial system’s insistence on and determination to issue and carry out death sentences in the past year and the growing number of executed victims in the past month have raised serious concerns among activists and the families of prisoners on death row. In the past 36 days (December 20th to January 27th) alone, 117 individuals were hanged and many more are awaiting to face the gallows.

Additionally, reports from unofficial sources indicate that secret executions have been carried out on large scales in other cities; mainly in provinces that border other countries and particularly in Vakilabad Mashhad, Birjand, Karoon, Sepidar, and Ahvaz prisons. These executions have not yet been officially confirmed by the judicial system or state media.

The sudden execution of five prisoners of conscience that took place in May 2010, while the families were kept in the dark (about the timing) and the notice of execution had not been issued to the lawyers of the defendants [as required by Iran’s own law], had greatly affected and aggrieved the Iranian and global public and administered a massive shock throughout Iran’s civil society. The result was waves of sympathy for the victims and a spark of global protests against executions. Speedy and retributive executions in Iran Kurdistan and Baluchistan and large-scale executions of the past months are continuations of the same trend. An end or a halt to such a trend does not seem to be in the horizon.

The growing number of executions, an indication of the ever increasing trend of the violation of the right to life, has resulted in a group of journalists and human rights activists to come together to launch an international campaign aimed at “abolishing the death penalty in Iran”.

The International Campaign for Abolishing the Death Penalty in Iran emphasizes that defending the right to life and opposing all forms of violation thereof is realized through a holistic approach based on a universal and undeniable value. The Campaign deems human dignity the most central virtue in defending human rights. Since the dignity of a human and, more importantly, the dignity of humanity is closely tied to the basic right to life, the Campaign obliges itself to emphasize on the protection of the right to life and defending the right of individuals to life, regardless of their acts and/or beliefs. Execution is an

The International Campaign for Abolishing the Death Penalty in Iran will make efforts to employ media and networking tools, insist on peaceful methods based on the basic principles of human rights, and raise awareness among Iran’s civil society and the world about the fate of those who are on death row. The Campaign is committed to spread and cite news while adhering to secure, precise, true, and rapid reporting.

The Campaign asks the global community and supporters of human rights to not remain silent in the face of large scale and widespread executions in various forms; be it political executions, executions under the pretext of fighting drug smuggling, juvenile offender executions, or inhumane punishments like stoning.

The Campaign is an independent movement and has no ties to any political party or organization. The activities of The Campaign will be focused on the abolishment of all forms of the death penalty, including both political and apolitical executions.

The Campaign says “no” to the death penalty in any form and will strive to achieve the complete abolishment of the punishment in Iran.

The Campaign welcomes the efforts and collaboration of all human rights defenders and institutions. In order to create the potential and capacity to abolish the death penalty in Iran, the Campaign invites groups, social networks, and civil activists for cooperation.


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