Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, January 22, 2021—On Wednesday, the Iranian regime executed a prisoner in Zahedan, Sistan & Baluchestan province. Yunes Khaneshini, the inmate, was from the Khash village and had spent eight years behind bars.
This was the latest of a series of brutal executions and increasing repressive measures in Iran’s prisons. In the past few weeks, the regime has carried out executions in many provinces, including Kurdistan, Yazd, Qazvin, Ardabil, East Azarbaijan, and Sistan and Baluchestan.
In a statement on Friday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) raised concern about the growing wave of executions in Iran. “The executions of two prisoners on Monday and Tuesday, January 18 and 19, 2021, in Sanandaj and Zahedan, respectively, brought to at least 33 the number of prisoners hanged during the last thirty days by the religious fascism ruling Iran,” the NCRI wrote, adding that the regime also carries out executions in secret, which have not been accounted for.
The NCRI also warned that at least three political prisoners were executed in Zahedan under moharebeh (waging war against God) charges, the term the regime uses for anyone who opposes the mullahs’ rule.
“The clerical regime is trying to prevent popular uprisings by escalating criminal and arbitrary executions, widespread arrests, and other desperate repressive measures,” the NCRI stressed, and called on the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, other human rights bodies, and the European Union and its member states to take immediate action to save the lives of prisoners on death row.
“The case of flagrant and systematic human rights violations in Iran must be referred to the UN Security Council. The leaders of this regime must be brought to justice for four decades of crimes against humanity,” The NCRI wrote.
Increasing pressure in Iran’s prisons
The execution of prisoners happens against the backdrop of increasing pressure against prisoners in different prisons. According to a report from Tehran’s Greater Prison, prison guards and authorities have been denying political prisoners in Section 2 access to adequate food and are starving them. The deteriorating conditions have led to the prisoners protesting on January 14, after the authorities have given four chickens to 52 prisoners, telling them to split each chicken between 13 inmates.
Following the protests, instead of responding to the prisoners’ demands, prison authorities forcibly transferred political prisoners Puya Ghobadi to the prison’s quarantine. Ghobadi, 27, is from Songhor and has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
According to reports obtained from the prison, the quarantine section houses prisoners who have Covid-19 symptoms and lacks the most basic facilities for prisoners. Following the transfer of Ghobadi, other prisoners protested to this repressive measure.
Deteriorating human rights conditions
According to a report by the Iran News Update website, the Iranian regime carried out at least 272 reported executions in 2020, and many more in secret. Eleven Iranian political prisoners were executed in 2020, including wrestling champion Navid Afkari, who was hanged despite a global campaign to revoke his execution and clear evidence that he was forced to confess under torture and wasn’t given a fair trial. Reported executions include five juvenile offenders and at least ten women. The Iranian regime is the leading executioner of juvenile offenders.
Outside of prisons, the regime has also resorted to increasing repressive measures to spread terror across the society in fear of protests. Security forces have resorted to public humiliation and beating of arrested people to intimidate the people from protesting against the regime.
The deteriorating human rights situation in Iran makes it more urgent for the international community to take action.