Suspected drug traffickers executed

Continuing reports to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have indicated widespread secret group executions of hundreds of inmates in Vakilabad prison in Mashad, mostly charged with drug trafficking. It is reported that thirteen inmates were executed on 5 October and ten on 12 October in “Execution Hallway”, located near the visitation room, where they were executed one after the other. The executions were carried out contrary to Islamic law and without any prior notice for the families involved or any the victim’s lawyers being informed.

On 12 October, Attorney General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei stated that suspects of drug- related crimes should be tried in the shortest time possible and not shown any mercy. He admitted that even low-level traffickers should be shown no mercy when he said “Some of the people who are arrested with drugs are not the main drug traffickers, and they don’t benefit from this materially, but the main drug trafficker deceives these people while he is sitting in a safe place and another person is tried in his place, and even executed.”

The Campaign has made several attempts to persuade the Iranian Authorities to release statistics on the executions. Unfortunately the authorities have failed to release any information.

Many prisoners released from the prison have told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that around two hundred people were executed between July 2009 and March 2010, this does not take in to account the number of women executed in the prison’s Women’s Ward. Again, there is no information available to the Campaign on this subject. These figures are also separate form the number of prisoners who were taken from their hometowns surrounding Mashad to Vakilabad to be executed.

According to sources within the Campaign, in August 2010, there were four mass executions of around sixty or ninety people at once. Ahmad Ghabel, a theological scholar and well-known student of the late Ayatollah Montazeri said that he personally witnessed up to fifty executions in front of him, a fellow inmate borrowed his pen to write his last will. He also said that these executions were a violation of Sharia Law and carried no judicial weight, “if these execution sentences were without any problems, why were they being carried out secretly?”

After the interview, Ghabel was arrested in September and sent back to Vakilabad prison. The Campaign is still being told of hundreds of prisoners on death row awaiting execution inside Vakilabad.