On Tuesday, December 2nd, 18 individuals were executed in different prisons in Iran, 11 of which were in Ghezel Hessar prison. Within the past month, Ghezel Hessar prison has witnessed several group executions (each group consisting of 11 individuals), out of which 44 were hanged within a two week period.
In protest to these group executions, the prisoners in unit 2 of Ghezel Hessar started a hunger strike. On December 7th, more than one thousand death row inmates ended their 6-day hunger strike. On December 9th, the prison officials transferred 35 of the protesting inmates to solitary cells in Rajai-shahr prison. This transfer was made under the excuse of a “prison uprising” and the lives of these 35 inmates are in imminent danger of execution.
Unit 2 of Ghezel Hessar prison consists of 9 halls where nearly 3000 prisoners with drug related charges are held and 1000 of them have received their final execution orders. It should be mentioned that Ghezel Hessar prison is one of the largest prisons in the Middle East where defendants with drug related charges are held.
From the beginning of Mr. Rohani’s presidency, 1097 individuals have been executed, majority of which were inmates with drug related charges. On a daily basis, the Islamic Regime conducts secret and public executions of drug offenders in different prisons of Iran under the pretense of “fight against drugs”. This occurs in conditions where the Islamic Republic is one of the major importers and distributors of drugs itself. The Islamic Government kills two birds with one stone. It facilitates the supply of drugs to Iranians and concurrently leads small drug dealers – who are mostly unemployed youth from disadvantaged families – to the gallows. With these actions, the government creates fear and terror within the society and further reinforces execution, which is one of its main pillars.
The International Committee Against Execution (ICAE) asks all international communities, all human rights organization and all organizations opposing capital punishment to include practical measures in their agenda to protect individuals who have been sentenced to death for drug offences and to save the lives of these 35 prisoners.
Secretariat for the International Committee Against Execution
December 10, 2014