May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Poised to Execute Child Offender and Five Other Prisoners

May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Poised to Execute Child Offender and Five Other Prisoners

Latest Developments

Iran’s judiciary has transferred six men to pre-execution solitary cells in Shiraz Central Prison, suggesting their executions are imminent, the Oslo-based nonprofit Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported on May 31. The convicts include Aref Rasouli, who was only 17 when he allegedly committed murder. Tehran also charged three of the other detainees with murder and the other two with drug-related crimes. Death sentences in Iran often follow trials devoid of due process and basic rights for the accused.

The development comes days after Iran postponed the execution of a 20-year-old Jewish man, Arvin Nathaniel Ghahremani, charged with committing murder two years earlier. Ghahremani said the killing occurred in self-defense, but Iranian courts dismissed the claim. IHR reported allegations by Ghahremani’s relatives that “Arvin’s court-appointed lawyer did not effectively defend his client for unknown reasons and his right to self-defense was not properly presented in the case.” The execution will reportedly take place next month. In a May 20 statement on X, Deborah Lipstadt — the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism — said Washington is “deeply concerned” about the pending execution.

Expert Analysis

“Tehran executes so many people not merely out of a commitment to its fundamentalist and draconian conception of justice but also as a form of intimidation meant to frighten the Iranian people into submission to its broader dictates. Ultimately, it’s about power and control.” — Tzvi Kahn, FDD Research Fellow and Senior Editor

“As executions surge in Iran, it is particularly crucial to recall that the State Department offered condolences for the death of former President Ebrahim Raisi, infamously known as the ‘butcher of Tehran’ for his execution orders. Instead of appeasing the Islamic Republic with such remarks and providing sanctions waivers, the Biden administration should unequivocally condemn the regime’s atrocities. The U.S. Treasury Department should also designate the judges presiding over these cases to ensure that such human rights violations do not go unnoticed and to signal to the Iranian people America’s unwavering commitment to justice and human rights.” — Janatan Sayeh, FDD Research Analyst

Executions Surge

Iran has already executed 237 people, including 10 women, in 2024, following 834 executions in 2023, according to IHR. Tehran also executed 582 people in 2022 and 333 people in 2021. These figures do not include the hundreds of protestors killed by Iranian security forces since nationwide demonstrations began in September 2022. Iran has consistently ranked only behind China in the total number of executions it conducts each year relative to other countries.

Protests Continue

Tehran’s executions likely reflect its goal of stifling dissent and intimidating the population. Yet Iranians continue to risk their lives by protesting in the nation’s streets. According to an FDD tracker, at least 1,078 demonstrations have occurred in 2024 to date, including 212 in May alone. Since September 2022, at least 6,599 demonstrations have occurred. The regime has frequently responded with force, killing hundreds of Iranians. In March 2024, the United Nations released a report stating that Iran’s repression of protests may constitute crimes against humanity.

Mapping the Protests in Iran,” by Mark Dubowitz

Jewish Man Facing Execution Under Iran’s Apartheid Laws Targeting Minorities,” FDD Flash Brief

Executions Surge in Iran as Protests Persist,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran Sentences Popular Rapper to Death Amid Widening Crackdown on Dissent,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Iran Iran Human Rights Iran Politics and Economy Iran Sanctions