Annual report on the death penalty in Iran: key issues and figures
26 April 2019
The 11th Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, prepared by Iran Human Rights (IHR) with the support of ECPM, provides an assessment and analysis of trends in the death penalty in 2018 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has the highest number of executions per year after China.
Its publication coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, but also with the year of Iran's 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which will take place next November. This is a decisive moment that will make it possible to put the question of the death penalty back on the agenda and to reflect on the observations contained in this report.
This report shows that 2018 stands out from previous years. Last year, at least 273 people were executed in Iran. This number is the lowest documented since 2007, and represents a 47% reduction compared to the number of executions in 2017.
This reduction is mainly due to the decrease in the number of drug-related executions, following the application of new amendments to the Anti-Drug Law aimed at limiting the use of the death penalty for such offences. The number of drug-related executions increased from 230 in 2017 to 24 in 2018.
"This is probably the most important step in the history of the Islamic Republic to limit the use of the death penalty and probably the most significant change in global trends in this area by 2018. We hope that this is the first step among many others that the Iranian authorities must take to improve their situation" Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesman for Iran Human Rights, said.
However, the report recalls that the death penalty still applies to many acts that are not even considered punitive by many countries, such as homosexual relations or the infidelity of a married woman. In addition, many of the people subject to this sentence in Iran belong to ethnic groups.
Thanks to the tireless work of lawyers, human rights defenders and civil society organizations, voices are growing to fight against the application of this inhuman punishment in Iran. Several organizations are protesting by publishing reports aimed at drawing international attention to this issue, including the one presented here by IHR and ECPM, currently one of the most authoritative organizations in the fight against the death penalty in Iran.
Continue the work
In November 2019, Iran will conduct its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR). At the last UPR in 2014, Iran accepted only one of the 41 recommendations on the death penalty, namely to "take measures to ensure due process and a fair trial, in particular in any process that could lead to the application of the death penalty". This year's UPR is an important opportunity for the international community to put the issue of the death penalty back on the agenda.
The positive experience of sustained pressure and emphasis on drug-related executions can and should be applied to other aspects of the death penalty.
The UPR recommendations on the death penalty, which were made in the previous round and only one of which was accepted by Iran, are at the end of the report.
Since 2012, Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM have been working together for the publication, international dissemination and dissemination of the annual reports on the death penalty in Iran.