Tehran ‘on a killing spree’

The average rate of execution is one person hanged every eight hours since the beginning of the year, a rights group monitoring the Islamic republic says.

“The Iranian judiciary is on an execution binge orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies,” Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, has said.

A statement by the New York-based group said at least 47 prisoners had been hanged since January 1, including a reported Kurdish activist accused of fighting against the state. Other jailed Kurds risk execution for alleged links to a group battling for greater rights for Iran’s Kurdish minority. Most of the others executed were convicted of violent crimes such as murder.

The group said the actual number of people put to death this year could be higher because Iranian authorities may not make public all executions.

Rights groups and media reports say at least 179 people were executed in Iran last year.

Thousands of inmates are on death row, but Iran’s judiciary has come under intense international pressure over the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Judiciary officials are reviewing the sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, but have given no clear signals on whether it could be commuted.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery in 2006 after the murder of her husband and sentenced to death by stoning. The sentence has been suspended and is under review. She was later convicted of being an accessory to the murder and sentenced to 10 years’ jail.

AP

January 18, 2011

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