Reports Reveal Iran Executions Hit 8-Year High in 2023

Amnesty International research states that Iran had its largest number of executions since 2015 in 2023, with 853 individuals being put to death.

Amid what Amnesty International terms Iran’s “war on drugs,” the number of executions has recently surged. Executions in 2023 were triggered by drug-related charges, accounting for 481 of the total executions.

Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi was named head of the judiciary after the 2021 election of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the subsequent widespread use of capital punishment. The deadly change in anti-narcotics strategy, according to Amnesty International, is a major factor in the increase in death sentences.

The report shows total executions rose by 48% in 2023 compared to 2022 and 172% compared to 2021. The majority of the executions were in cases involving drug charges, accounting for 56% of all executions in 2023. Executions over drugs rose by 24% from 2021 and 89% from 2022 to 2023.

According to Diana Eltahawy, Middle East and North Africa’s deputy regional director at Amnesty International, the implementation of the death sentence on a large scale for drug-related offenses after incredibly biased hearings in the Revolutionary Courts is a hideous misuse of authority.

Eltahawy claimed that the Islamic Republic’s brutal anti-narcotics efforts are making things worse for already-downtrodden populations, especially the persecuted Baluchi minority in Iran.

While the Balochi made up 29% of the executions linked to drugs, Amnesty International argues that this shows how the government’s anti-narcotics policy has a disproportionate impact on already vulnerable populations.

Iran is home to about 20-25% of Baloch people. According to various estimates, there may be as many as two million Baloch people living in Iran. Pakistan is home to the vast majority of Baloch people, and southern Afghanistan is home to 600,000 people.

According to the study, the government’s crackdown on protestors led to the implementation of the death sentence in the Woman Life Freedom rebellion that occurred in Iran near the end of 2022, as an example.