With 1,000 put to death in 2015, Iran one of top executioners

Updated 08 January 2016

With 1,000 put to death in 2015, Iran one of top executioners

RIYADH: Iran may have executed over 1,000 people in 2015, according to the London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
“Iran executed about 700 people in the first six months of 2015, an average of three people every day and the final execution count might top 1,000 by the end of the just concluded year,” according to the report.
People were executed for drug trafficking but there were also some from ethnic and religious minorities killed for “fighting against religion” and “corruption on the earth.” There were 743 people executed in 2014, amnesty said.
Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), said: “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of 2015 paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially sanctioned killings on a mass scale.”
“If the Iranian authorities maintain the horrifying execution rate we are likely to see the figure crossing the 1,000 mark by the year’s end,” Boumedouha had added late last year. “It raises additional concerns in a country like Iran where trials are blatantly unfair.”
Among those sent to the gallows include clerics and activists from the Sunni minority including Shahram Ahadi. His younger brother, Bahram Ahmadi, was executed in 2012 along with five other Sunni clerics.
Moreover, Tehran executed Rehana Jabbari in October 2014 despite an international campaign urging for a reprieve, which was described as a “travesty” by Amnesty International.
Jabbari, 26, was hanged for killing a former intelligence ministry officer who, she said, tried to sexually abuse her.
Tehran has rejected the figures, saying it executed 247 people in 2015 and 289 in 2014. The differences, according to Amnesty is that the Iranian authorities refuse to acknowledge all the executions they carried out.
“Each year the Iranian authorities acknowledge a certain number of judicial executions, however, many more executions are carried out but not acknowledged and the real number of those sent to the gallows far exceeds the official count,” said the Amnesty website.
Amnesty further believes that “several thousand” people are currently on death row in Iran. China carries out more executions a year than Iran, according to Amnesty. However, in terms of executions per capita, Iran, with a population of around 77 million, has the highest rate of executions in the world, according to the human rights watchdog.


France to press to drop Sudan from US terror blacklist

Updated 16 September 2019

France to press to drop Sudan from US terror blacklist

  • Jean-Yves Le Drian is the second top western diplomat to visit Sudan this month
  • SUNA says Le Drian will meet with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the newly appointed Sovereign Council

KHARTOUM: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that France will press to drop Sudan from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism and to support efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community.
Le Drian was in Khartoum for a one-day visit, the first such trip to Sudan by France's top diplomat in more than a decade.
His visit comes as the northeast African country transitions to civilian rule after decades of authoritarianism.
"We will use our influence to ensure that Sudan is removed from this list," Le Drian said at a joint press conference with his Sudanese counterpart Asma Mohamed Abdalla after the two held talks.
"It is the way to ensure that we can consider a new relationship (for Sudan) with financial institutions, everything is obviously linked," he said, asked by AFP if France would back efforts to remove Sudan from Washington's blacklist.
Decades of US blacklisting along with a trade embargo imposed on Sudan in 1997 has kept overseas investors away from the country, in turn isolating it from the global economy.
Sudan's worsening economic situation was the key trigger for nationwide protests that finally led to the ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
Washington lifted the sanctions in October 2017, but kept Sudan in the terrorism list along with North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Washington's measures were imposed for Khartoum's alleged support for Islamist militant groups.
Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden resided in Sudan between 1992 and 1996.
Le Drian said the pivotal role played by Sudan's army in the uprising against Bashir would help in removing Sudan from the US blacklist.
"The way the army perceived its role during this period, (that) goes in the direction of removing Sudan from this list," he said.
The army overthrew Bashir in a palace coup on April 11 on the back of months of nationwide protests.
But a military council seized power after ousting him and for months resisted calls from protesters to transfer it to a civilian administration.
Only last month after sustained agitation, a joint civilian-military sovereign council was sworn in to oversee Sudan's transition to civilian rule, the key demand of protesters.
On September 8, Sudan's first cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was sworn in to run the daily affairs of the country.
During his short visit to Khartoum, Le Drian also met Hamdok and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the civilian-military ruling council.
Le Drian also reiterated French support for Sudan's priorities such as rebuilding the economy and striking peace agreements with rebel groups in conflict zones of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.