Annual report on the death penalty in Iran – 2017

13 March 2018

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The 10th annual report on the death penalty by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM provides an assessment and analysis of the death penalty trends in 2017 in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The report sets out the number of executions in 2017, the trend compared to previous years, charges, geographic distribution and a monthly breakdown of executions. Lists of the female and juvenile offenders executed in 2017 are also included in the tables at the end of the report.

Drug-related executions before and after the new amendments were passed in Parliament, approval by the Guardian Council and its enforcement are reviewed. The old Anti-Narcotics law and new amendment, along with its strengths and weaknesses, are discussed.

As in previous reports, data showing the role of the Revolutionary Courts on Iran’s use of the death penalty and the death penalty trends under President Rouhani are provided. Death penalty for murder, which is punished by qisas  (retribution in kind), receives special attention.

The report also looks into the abolitionist movement within Iran and some information about the crackdown on human rights defenders.

The number of “forgiveness ” cases, where the family of murder victims chose forgiveness instead of retribution, is provided and compared to those of death sentences in murder cases.

The 2017 report is the result of hard work from IHR members and supporters who took part in reporting, documenting, collecting, analyzing and writing its content. We are especially grateful to IHR sources inside Iran who, by reporting on unannounced and secret executions, incur a significant risk. Due to the very difficult context, the lack of transparency and the obvious risks and limitations that human rights defenders face in the Islamic Republic of Iran, this report does not give a complete picture of the use of the death penalty in Iran by any means.

The report at a glance

At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day

111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.

Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.

At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges – 98 more than in 2016.

At least 231 people (45% of all executions) were executed for drug-related charges – 65 less than in 2016.

31 executions were conducted in public spaces.

At least 5 juvenile off enders were among those executed.

At least 10 women were executed.

At least 254 executions in 2017 and more than 3,400 executions since 2010 have been based on death sentences issued by the Revolutionary Courts.

At least 221 death row prisoners were forgiven by the families of the murder victims.

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