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UN experts urge Iran to respect international law and stop horrific executions of protesters

23 January 2024

GENEVA (23 January 2023) – UN experts* today strongly condemned the execution of Mohammad Ghobadlou, a 23-year-old with a long-term psychosocial disability, and urged Iran to comply with its obligations under international human rights law.

“We are alarmed by reports of unfair trial proceedings in the case of Mr Ghobadlou, as well as in other cases, which fell far short of due process and fair trial standards required by international human rights law by which Iran is bound,” the UN experts said.

They also expressed serious concern at credible reports that those executed had been denied access to lawyers during their detention and trial.

Ghobadlou was reportedly arrested on 22 September 2022 in connection with nationwide protests in Iran from September to December 2022. He was accused of killing an Iranian official in Robat Karim, Tehran Province, charged with “corruption on earth” and sentenced to death.

“We are shocked that the authorities went ahead with the execution despite the fact that Mr Ghobadlou and his lawyer had no information about the legal basis for the intended execution,” the experts said.

At least four individuals are, reportedly, at imminent risk of execution in Iran, including Mr Mojahed (Abbas) Kourkouri and Mr Reza (Gholamreza) Rasaei in connection with the nationwide protests, while at least 15 others face the death penalty.

“We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in executions in Iran and note that at least 834 people were executed in 2023, including 8 people associated with the nationwide protests,” the experts said. “We urge the Iranian Government to stop this horrific wave of executions.”

“We renew our appeal for Iranian authorities to immediately halt further executions of all individuals sentenced to death,” they said.

The experts urged the Government of Iran to take steps to ensure the independence of the judiciary and that all due process and fair trial standards required by international human rights law are strictly and unequivocally upheld in all capital cases.

“We reiterate our call on Iranian authorities to review the use and implementation of the death penalty and ensure that capital punishment is used only for the most serious crimes as defined by international law,” they said.

*The experts: Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers; and Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page — Iran

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