Death Penalty for 22 Persians on drug charges
Iran hanged 22 people convicted of drug trafficking, a newspaper reported on Monday, the latest mass executions by a state that has the highest per capita death penalty rate in the world, according to rights groups.
The hangings happened on Sunday at two prisons, Evin in Tehran and Rajai Shahr, just outside the capital, Iran Daily reported.
“Subsequent to the trials of 22 big-time traffickers, the Islamic Revolutionary Court found them guilty based on the existing evidence and handed down execution sentences,” it reported.
Amnesty International says Iran is second only to China for the total number of executions carried out. Tehran dismisses criticism of its justice system, saying it is implementing Islamic law and responding to a major drugs problem.
Iran is a transit route for narcotics smuggled from neighboring Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium. More than 3,500 Iranian security personnel have been killed fighting drug smugglers since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy – the renouncing of Islam – are all punishable by death under Iran’s Islamic law practiced since the revolution.
By HASHEM KALANTARI