Thursday, December 19, 2013

Iran Has Executed 529 People in 2013

Iran has executed 529 people this year, including more than 300 since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in August, according to a tallycompiled by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC). The number of executions have significantly spiked since Rouhani took office, leading some to argue that this clashes with his image as a moderate reformer. iran now has the dubious honor of being the global leader per capita in executions, according to the IHRDC. The sharp spike in killing has prompted criticism from some observers who say that the United States and other Western nations are ignoring Tehran’s massive human rights infractions in order to facilitate Iran’s approval of a final nuclear accord. “Under the shadow of negotiations, however, Iran’s appalling human rights situation has hardly changed,” Iranian activists Payam Akhavan and Shirin Ebadi wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Executions have actually increased as Tehran engages in talks with the West, according to Akhavan and Ebadi. Many of those executed by Iran, mainly by hanging, were accused of being a “Moharebeh,” or one who is designated as “waging war against God” under Islamic law. Many others were hung in secrecy and after being convicted of crimes during closed trials that human rights observers classified as unfair and lacking in international standards. However, others maintain that the spike is a result of internal divisions and power struggles between Iran’s so-called moderate wing and its more hardline judiciary. The execution figures are compiled from both official and unofficial reports in the Iranian media and elsewhere. The Iranian government has officially acknowledged at least 400 executions in 2013. The White House admits that human rights issues are not being discussed during the nuclear negotiations. “As we have consistently made clear, the P5+1 negotiations with Iran have focused exclusively on the nuclear issue,” a senior

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