Iran hangs 11 convicted drug traffickers

November 25th, 2011 - 1:07 am ICT by BNO News  

SHIRAZ, IRAN (BNO NEWS) — Eleven people who were previously convicted of drug trafficking were hanged in southern Iran on Thursday, state-run media reported. It is the latest in a series of mass executions in the country this year.

The drug traffickers were executed at a prison in Shiraz, the sixth most populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars province, after their appeals were rejected and their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court. Other details were not released.

Murder, rape and drug trafficking are among the crimes which are punishable by death in Iran. Dozens of people were executed across the country in September alone, including 22 convicted drug traffickers who were all hanged on the same day in the Tehran suburb of Karaj.

But the most controversial execution took place on September 21 when 17-year-old Alireza Molla Soltani was executed after stabbing a popular athlete to death in mid-July. The teenager argued he stabbed the athlete in self-defense but a court still ordered he be executed in breach of international law which forbids executing anyone below the age of 18.

According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government acknowledged that at least 252 people were executed in Iran last year, but Amnesty’s reports indicate the actual figure is more than 550. Among those executed were five women and one adult who allegedly committed his crime when he was underage.

According to human rights groups, trials in Iran do often not meet international standards of fairness. Proceedings, particularly those held outside Tehran, are often summary, lasting only a few minutes. Mass trials also take place on some occasions.

In October 2010, Iran’s Interior Minister stated that the campaign against drug trafficking was being intensified and the Prosecutor General stated in the same month that new measures had been taken to speed up the judicial processing of drug trafficking cases, including by referring all such cases to his office, thereby denying them a right to appeal to a higher tribunal as is required under international law.

Two months later, the amended Anti-Narcotics Law came into force, apparently making it easier to sentence to death those convicted of drug trafficking, according to Amnesty International. The law also extended the scope of the death penalty to include additional categories of illegal drugs such as crystal meth, possession of which became punishable by death.

Family members of executed persons also faced persecution in some cases last year and were often not given the bodies of their relatives for burial. Others said that they had to pay officials in order to receive their relatives’ bodies as payment for the rope used to hang them.

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