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“Avalanche-Like” Executions Roll On in Iran with 13 Hanged in One Day

The Iranian government has hanged 13 prisoners on May 17 in the cities of Yazd, Urmia, and Mashhad, confirmed Javad Larjiani, head of the regime’s human rights council.

12 of the 13 were executed in Yazd and Urmia. In Mashhad, a young man was publicly hanged.

Larjiani, a mathematical theoretician and brother to the head of Iran’s judiciary who also advises the Ayatollah in foreign affairs, cited ties to narcotics as the basis for the charges against them.

The “avalanche-like” executions and torture used by the regime, often against petty criminals, has been justified by the concept of Qisas (roughly, “retributive justice”), a form of penal law used in the regime’s criminal sentencing, said Larjiani. The regime often dismisses criticism of this system as western countries trying to impose their own values on an Islamic regime.

“Regretfully, today, the Qisas verdict, which is a holy verdict… is being questioned”, said Larjiani the day before the executions. “The universality of the United Nations documents does not mean that the western living style is the best model… This is exactly where we should strongly stand up.”

“Officials of western countries always bring up allegations relating to human rights…against Iran that lack any basis in reality”, said Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s criminal prosecutor, on the same day.


The 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani, nominally a moderate-left politician who received support from reformists, was hoped by some to signal a change of direction in Iran’s criminal sentencing. However, Iran has remained the country with the most per capita executions annually in the world.


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