GENEVA (5 August 2016) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday deplored the execution of 20 people in Iran this week for purported terrorism-related offences.
Reports suggest that most if not all of those executed were from a minority group – Sunnis from the Kurdish community. In many of the cases, there were serious doubts about the fairness of the trials, respect for due process and other rights of the accused. One of the men who was hanged yesterday, Shahram Ahmadi, had allegedly been beaten and coerced into signing a blank piece of paper on which his false confession was recorded. His family members were unable to visit him before he was executed, and were reportedly directed to the cemetery instead of Rajai Shahr Prison west of Tehran.
“The application of overly broad and vague criminal charges, coupled with a disdain for the rights of the accused to due process and a fair trial have in these cases led to a grave injustice,” the High Commissioner said.
High Commissioner Zeid also condemned the execution last month of 19-year-old Hassan Afshar, who was 17 when he was arrested and convicted of rape. “The execution of juvenile offenders is particularly abhorrent and I urge Iran to respect the strict prohibition under international human rights law against this practice,” he said.