Amnesty International criticises Iran on hangings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 4:31am

Iran has hanged 10 people convicted of drug trafficking, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported, in part of what rights group Amnesty International called a "state killing spree".

Executions are regular events in Tehran, and the latest took place on Monday in a prison in the capital. The judiciary said those hanged were members of two drug gangs, Mehr said.

Last week, Amnesty urged Iranian authorities to commute all death sentences and remove the penalty as a punishment. The London-based human rights watchdog said it believed 344 people had been executed in Iran since March.

Iran is a transit route for narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 per cent of the world's opium, the raw ingredient of heroin.

According to Iran's media, more than 3,500 Iranian soldiers have died in clashes with drug smugglers since 1979,

Among those executed on Monday was Saeed Sedighi, who Amnesty said "appears to have had no opportunity to appeal against his conviction and sentence".

In a statement later on Monday, Amnesty condemned the executions, saying they were part of a "state killing spree".

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy, which is the renouncing of Islam, are all crimes punishable by death under the Islamic judicial code that Iran adopted after the 1979 Islamic revolution.