(New York) — Amnesty International today condemned the execution of 10 men in Iran on Monday morning, despite international pleas to spare their lives. The human rights organization said the executions were part of a “state killing spree” that has seen at least 368 people executed this year, most for drug offenses.
Saeed Sedeghi was permitted a “final meeting” with his mother at Evin Prison on Sunday, when judicial officials announced that his death sentence would be carried out early on Monday.
“Saeed Sedeghi and the nine other men executed today are the latest in Iran’s state killing spree, which has seen more than 360 individuals executed this year – the majority of them convicted drugs offenders. Such executions inflict needless suffering on Iranian families and are misguided, ineffectual and an affront to human rights,” said Ann Harrison, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Sedeghi’s family informed Amnesty International that his body was swiftly returned to them after the execution.
On October 13, it appeared that Sedeghi had been granted a stay of execution, but his family were told nothing of his whereabouts until October 21, when his mother was informed of the impending execution and called to Evin Prison for a final visit.
According to his family, Sedeghi had lost a lot of weight and had been prohibited from calling other close relatives to say goodbye before his execution.
Sedeghi’s family told Amnesty International that he had been tortured in prison, including being subjected to a mock execution.
“The reports that Saeed Sedeghi was subjected to mock execution before his death are deeply disturbing and must be investigated promptly and impartially, and anyone found responsible for abuses brought to justice,” said Harrison.
Following Sedeghi’s execution, the authorities warned his family members not to speak to the media and barred them from holding a public funeral ceremony after his burial.
On October 11, Sedeghi’s brother, Majid Sedeghi, was arrested after giving interviews to BBC Persian and Voice of America about his brother’s plight. He was held in Evin Prison before being released on bail four days later.
While Iran’s security forces have a right to prosecute individuals for offenses connected to the production and supply of illegal drugs, drugs offenses do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” to which the death penalty must be restricted under international law.
Iran – which is second only to China in the number of executions carried out annually – is believed to have put to death at least 368 people so far this year, including 136 executions that have not been formally announced.
There is no clear evidence that the death penalty has had any identifiable effect in deterring drug-related offenses. International human rights standards state that the death penalty should never be a mandatory sentence.
“We continue to urge the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentences of everyone on death row, and to remove it from law as a possible punishment for drug offenses,” said Harrison.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.