A recent report released by Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and the France-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) states last year was the highest number of executions in the Islamic republic since 2015.
At least 582 people were executed in Iran in 2022, a 75% increase from the previous year as Tehran ramps up efforts to "instill fear" among anti-regime protesters.
The report says the vast majority (at least 544) of the executions were of people accused of murder and drug-related offenses. The report also states that almost 90% of the executions were secret, not having been announced by Iranian authorities.
This deadly crackdown on anti-regime protesters started in response to the uprising of protests after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September.
The report says:
Iran's authorities demonstrated how crucial the death penalty is to instill societal fear in order to hold onto power.
Fifteen of the executions documented in the report were carried out on the vaguely defined charges of "enmity against God" and "corruption on Earth."
Other charges for executions included (but were not limited to):
- Armed rebellion against the Islamic ruler
- Knowledge of the judge
- Islamic jurisprudence
- Fixed punishment for offenses mandated by Sharia
- Lesbian sex
- Insulting the prophet
- Islamic rule
- Punishment for offenses at the discretion of the judge
While Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has praised the crackdown, describing the protesters as "rioters" and "thugs" backed by foreign forces, there are still people not afraid to protest or speak out.
IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam called the Islamic republic an "execution machine."
He believes Iran would have executed even more people if it wasn't for international attention.
To compensate, and in order to spread fear among people, the authorities have intensified executions for non-political charges. These are the low-cost victims of the Islamic republic's execution machine.
In order to stop this machine, the international community and civil society inside and outside Iran must show the same reaction to each and every execution.
The two groups, IHR and ECPM, are urging the international community "to increase efforts to support the demands of the Iranian people for respect of their fundamental human rights and the abolition of the death penalty."