July 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Publicly Hangs Two Afghan Prisoners 

July 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Publicly Hangs Two Afghan Prisoners 

Latest Developments 

Iran publicly hanged two Afghan nationals on July 8 on charges of efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) and baghy (armed rebellion) after trials devoid of due process that relied on confessions elicited through torture. The two men, Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeim Hashem Ghotali, allegedly played a role in an October 2022 attack on a Shiite Muslim shrine in the Iranian city of Shiraz that killed more than a dozen people. Yet Tehran provided no evidence corroborating this claim. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.  

According to the Oslo-based non-profit Iran Human Rights, Iran has executed at least 369 people in 2023 thus far. By contrast, Iran executed 261 people in the first six months of 2022 and 121 in the first half of 2021. These figures do not include the hundreds of protesters killed by Iranian security forces since nationwide demonstrations began in September 2022. 

Expert Analysis 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran rules through fear. Mindful that millions of Iranians seek a new government, Tehran suppresses dissent by torturing and murdering innocent people. Such a regime cannot serve as a reliable partner for any prospective nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran.” — Tzvi Kahn, FDD Research Fellow and Senior Editor 

“Tehran is continuing to ramp up its execution spree, one built on the back of an injustice system that has long used forced confessions and rushed show trials for explicitly political purposes. Regardless of the state of play surrounding Iran’s ‘hard’ threats posed by the regime’s missile, drone, or nuclear programs, Iran’s instrumental use of torture and execution against those who reside within its own territory cannot be forgotten or relegated to the back burner.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow 

UN Denounces Iran 

A United Nations fact-finding mission denounced Tehran on July 5 for its use of the death penalty against protesters over the past year. “We call on the Iranian authorities to stop the executions of individuals convicted and sentenced to death in connection with the protests and reiterate our requests to make available to us the judicial files, evidence, and judgments regarding each of these persons,” Sara Hossain, chair of the mission, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

In a February 2023 report, Javaid Rehman, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, stated that he “is alarmed at the sharp increase in executions in the country.” He called on Tehran to “ensure that prisoners and detainees are protected from all forms of torture and ill-treatment and that confessions obtained through torture or ill-treatment are never accepted as evidence.”  

Iran’s Biased Judiciary 

Tehran’s extensive use of the death penalty reflects the will of Iran’s supreme leader, who directly appoints the head of the judiciary, who in turn appoints all judges. In 2010, the United States imposed human rights sanctions on Iran’s attorney general at the time, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, who now serves as the judiciary head. Mohseni-Ejei also served as Iran’s repressive minister of intelligence (2005-2009) and deputy judiciary head (2014-2021). 

Iran Executes Three Protesters Despite International Outcry,” FDD Flash Brief 

Iran Surpasses 500 Executions in 2022,” FDD Flash Brief 

Torture TV: The Case for Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s State-Run Media,” by Toby Dershowitz and Talia Katz 


International Organizations Iran Iran Human Rights