LONDON: Iran is executing members of ethnic minorities as a “tool of repression,” Amnesty International has claimed.
In a report published alongside Iranian human rights organization the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, Amnesty said the regime had killed 14 Kurds, 13 Baluchis and an Ahwazi Arab among 94 people executed since the start of the year — and had condemned many more to death after “grossly unfair” trials.
Roya Boroumand, the executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, said: “The Iranian authorities are carrying out executions on a frightening scale. Their actions amount to an assault on the right to life and a shameless attempt not only to further oppress ethnic minorities but to spread fear that dissent will be met with brute force, either in the streets or in the gallows.”
The executions, many conducted in secret, are, according to Amnesty, in violation of international law and were retaliation for the mass protests that have engulfed Iran since September 2022 following the death of a Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the country’s notorious morality police for improperly wearing her headscarf.
Amnesty said that the Ahwazi Arab man, Hassan Abyat, was executed on Feb. 20 in Khuzesta and that two days later a Kurd named Arash (Sarkawt) Ahmadi was executed in Kermanshah. Both men, it is claimed, were subjected to torture in order to extract confessions of guilt, both of which were subsequently broadcast on state TV.
Abyat, a witness told Amnesty, had been tied to a bed before being beaten and electrocuted after being accused of involvement in the death of a member of the Basij militia in 2011. Ahmadi, meanwhile, was tortured by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for alleged ties to an Iranian-Kurdish group. Neither man was allowed to see his family before execution.
In a significant number of cases, minorities sentenced to death have been convicted of what Amnesty called “vaguely worded” religious-based crimes, most notably “efsad-e fel arz,” or “spreading corruption on earth” and/or “moharebeh,” or “enmity against God.”
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “It is harrowing that executions routinely occur amid the systematic use of torture-tainted ‘confessions’ to convict defendants in grossly unfair trials. The world must act now to pressure the Iranian authorities to establish an official moratorium on executions, quash unfair convictions and death sentences, and drop all charges related to peaceful participation in protests.
“We also urge all states to exercise universal jurisdiction over all Iranian officials reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights.”
In addition to those already executed, Amnesty warned a further 12 Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi individuals face the death penalty following unfair convictions and forced confessions for “membership of illegal groups” in cases stretching back to 2017.
Six more Baluchi men were sentenced to death between December and January in relation to protests in the Sistan and Baluchestan province in September last year, one of whom suffers from a physical disability.
Shoeib Mirbaluchzehi Rigi, Kambiz Khorout, Ebrahim Narouie, Mansour Hout, Nezamoddin Hout, and Mansour Dahmaredeh were accused of crimes including arson and stone-throwing and all reportedly subjected to torture in order to extract confessions — again in contravention of international law.