Iranian Executions Increased by 172% Since 2021

Amnesty International just reported that the number of executions in Iran last year was the highest recorded since 2015, marking a 48% increase from 2022 and a 172% increase from 2021. The numbers this year are following the trend, with at least 95 recorded executions so far in 2024.

How many undocumented executions have taken place is not known. The report clarifies that “execution numbers recorded by Amnesty International are minimum figures and the organization believes the real number is higher.”

The increase is so dramatic that today, Iranian prisons are being referred to as ‘killing fields.’

The Iranian government weaponises its ability to enforce the death penalty as a way of repressing its people. Although it may have largely fallen out of the news cycles, there is still intense unrest in Iran following the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in 2022, who was beaten to death by morality police for not wearing her headscarf correctly. The outrage was intense and grew rapidly out of control, with thousands taking to the streets of Iran to protest the injustice.

The response was a violent crackdown by the Iranian authorities.

At least six of the executed in 2023 were protesters arrested during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in 2022. The Iranian government also executed at least two social media users on charges of “apostasy” and “insulting the Prophet of Islam” in their social media posts.

“Protesters, dissidents and members of oppressed ethnic minorities are among those executed as the authorities have weaponized the death penalty in an orchestrated bid to sow fear among the public and suppress dissent. Without a robust global response, the Iranian authorities will feel emboldened to execute thousands more people in the coming years with total impunity,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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