Rights group says Iranian authorities held mass execution last week, 12 people were hanged

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, on May 8, 2022. (SalamPix/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights watchdog says it has found evidence that 12 people convicted of murder or drug-related charges had their punishments meted out in a mass execution on June 6 in the southeast city Zahedan.

In a statement dated June 7, the group said 11 men and one woman were hanged en masse a day earlier in the main prison in Zahedan.

Halush, a local source covering Sunni and ethnic minorities in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province where Zahedan is located, said six of the executed prisoners were charged with drug-related offenses. All were from Zahedan.

According to Halush, the other six were executed on “murder” charges, but no details are available on their cases.

“All twelve prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions on June 4,” Iran Human Rights said in a report.

“At the time of writing [June 7], none of their executions have been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran,” it added.

Human rights activists have repeatedly expressed concern about the high rate of executions among Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, especially Kurds, Arabs, and Baluchis. They believe executions disproportionately target such minorities in Iran.

“Data gathered by Iran Human Rights shows that Baluch prisoners accounted for 21 percent of all executions in 2021, while only representing 2–6 percent of Iran’s population,” the group said.

Some human rights sources, including the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), have previously stated that more than 85 percent of executions in Iran are carried out “in secret and without official and public information.”

Iran has had the highest number of executions in the world since 2017. According to Amnesty International, more than half of the world’s recorded executions take place in the country.