Iran executed at least 280 people in 2021, UN Human Rights Council told

At least 10 women and three 'child offenders' among those put to death, independent expert's report shows

The UN Human Rights Council has been told by an independent expert there is concern over the number of deaths in detention in Iran in obscure circumstances. EP
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Iran executed at least 280 people last year, the UN Human Rights Council has been told.

The number of executions linked to charges related to narcotics laws had risen, showed figures published on Thursday by Javaid Rehman, an independent expert and UN special rapporteur on Iran.

“In 2021, at least 280 individuals, including at least 10 women, were executed,” said Mr Rehman, while presenting his report to the council.

He said three “child offenders” — the UN term for a person convicted of a crime committed when they were aged under 18 — were executed in Iran in 2021.

The number of women being executed had also risen, according to the report. It said more than 80 executions, including of one woman and at least four Afghans, were for drug offences, compared with 25 in 2020.

Mr Rehman said there was an increase in executions of people from minority communities last year, with more than 40 Baluch and more than 50 Kurds put to death.

In his report, the special rapporteur, who has been denied access to Iran, indicated that he had continued to receive consistent information on the use of confessions obtained by torture as evidence in cases carrying the death penalty.

Concern over deaths in detention

Mr Rehman also condemned “lethal and excessive force” against peaceful gatherings over access to water and the impact of water shortages on daily life.

And he condemned the practice of “attempting to silence those who call for accountability".

“There are many cases of harassment and threats against families of victims and others calling for justice,” he said. “In some cases, individuals are subjected to criminal prosecution simply for having called for justice.”

Mr Rehman said he was also concerned by the number of deaths in detention in obscure circumstances into which there had been no inquiry.

From January 1 to December 1, 2021, at least 11 Kurdish prisoners died in detention in circumstances that were not clear, according to the report.

Kazem Gharibabadi, vice-president of Iran's judiciary authority and secretary general of its High Council for Human Rights, condemned Mr Rehman on Twitter.

“The High Council for Human Rights condemns the approach employed by the so-called special rapporteur on Iran, which proves that instead of pursuing a policy of dialogue and co-operation, he has favoured a biased and politically motivated approach,” he said.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 8:49 AM