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First Half of 2023 Sees 354 Executions in Iran

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According to a rights group’s report released on Monday, Iran has hanged at least 354 individuals in the first half of 2023, a significant increase over 2022.

In the wake of the protests last September over the killing of Mahsa Amini, who was jailed for allegedly breaking stringent clothing codes for women, rights groups have accused Tehran of escalating the use of the death penalty to instil fear across society.

Iran Human Rights, a Norwegian organisation, reported that the 354 figure for the first half of the year up to June 30 was up 36% from the same period in 2022 when 261 individuals were executed.

The group emphasised concerns that executions in Iran disproportionately affect non-Persian ethnic groups, noting that 20% of all killings were members of the Sunni Baluch minority.

According to the report, 206 persons were put to death for drug-related offences, a 126 percent increase from the same time last year.

Six women were among those put to death during that time, while two males were publicly hanged, the statement revealed.

Expressing his thoughts on the matter, IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said “The death penalty is used to create societal fear and prevent more protests.”

He further explained that the majority of the people executed in Iran are low-cost victims “of the killing machine”, drug defendants from the most marginalised communities.

The IHR group had earlier this year reported that Iran carried out a whooping 582 executions in 2022, the most since 2015.

According to Amnesty International, Iran is the world’s biggest executioner after China, for which no data is available.

Seven persons were executed by the Iranian government in cases involving the protests, and rights organisations have warned that at least seven other protest-related arrestees face the imminent threat of execution.

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