1,000 Executed in Iran, Rights Group Charges

From Reuters

Amnesty International said Monday that more than 1,000 political prisoners have been shot or hanged in Iran since last August in the biggest wave of executions there since the early 1980s.

In a statement to the United Nations’ annual review of human rights abuses, the London-based human rights group said the victims were mostly supporters of the Moujahedeen, the main Iranian opposition group, but included members of other left-wing groups.

“Among them were a large number of prisoners of conscience and others serving prison terms, imposed after unfair trials, for their nonviolent political activity,” the statement said.


Began in August

“The wave of executions began last August and has been the biggest in Iran since thousands of political prisoners were put to death in the early 1980s,” it added.

Amnesty International said rumors of executions and mass burials quickly began to circulate after family visits to political prisoners were suspended last August.

Distraught families reportedly sought in vain for news of their relatives.

The group also told the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, opening its annual session in Geneva today, that it had evidence of other violations including torture, detention without trial, unfair trials and “cruel, inhuman or degrading” punishment such as the cutting off of thieves’ fingers.

In addition, the report said at least 75 convicted drug traffickers had been executed so far this year, including 56 on a single day--Jan. 16.

Iran on Sunday said it had hanged 22 drug traffickers over the last three days.