Iran hangs three on drug charges amid criticism

The latest executions were carried out after offenders were reportedly caught with large quantities of heroin.

Flag of Iran
Flag of Iran [File: Michael Gruber/AP Photo]

Iran has hanged three people on drug charges amid continued criticism of its execution practices and increased death penalty sentences.

The three men, identified as Shahab Mansournasab, Samad Geravand and Saeed Geravand, were hanged after more than 39 kilogrammes (86 pounds) of heroin and precursors and processing equipment were confiscated from them, the judiciary’s official website said on Sunday.

They were charged with “corruption on Earth” after they admitted they planned to sell the drugs in the capital, Tehran, and the Supreme Court confirmed their sentence, it said.

Iranian law dictates that any person holding more than 30 grammes (1 ounce) of heroin should receive capital punishment and have most of their wealth seized.

The news comes one day after Iran’s judiciary announced it had executed a man identified as Shahrouz “Alex” Sokhanvari for running a human trafficking network and prostitution ring active across the region.

On Friday, Iran executed three men in a case linked with the protests that had erupted across the country after the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by morality police for allegedly not adhering to a mandatory dress code.

The men were hanged after being convicted of “moharebeh” or “waging war against God” for allegedly killing a police officer and two members of the paramilitary Basij group during the unrest.

Friday’s executions, which took the number of people executed in cases linked with the protests to seven, were criticised by the European Union and the United States.

Iran’s foreign ministry denounced the criticism as “ridiculous” on Saturday and said the West needed to listen to the protests of their own citizens instead of “intervening” in other countries’ affairs.

The United Nations and human rights organisations have warned of a significant rise in the number of executions in Iran, with UN human rights chief Volker Turk saying Iran has an “abominable” track record of executions this year.

The UN says the number of executions in Iran this year is on track to be the highest since 2015 when 972 death sentences were carried out.

Iran executes more people annually than any other country except China, according to human rights organisations including Amnesty International.

Most executions are carried out on drug offences. Iran executed a man dubbed the “Sultan of Cocaine” earlier this month.

Source: Al Jazeera