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Iran in Drug Offender Execution Frenzy

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #669)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Iran began 2011 by hanging eight accused drug traffickers at Qom prison south of Tehran New Year's Day, and that was just day one. By the end of January, Iranian authorities had executed at least 56 drug offenders, according to press accounts compiled by the anti-death penalty group Hands Off Cain.

International Anti-Drugs Day drug burn, Tehran
Seven drug offenders were hung in the Kermanshah prison January 3, and another in Shirvan two days after that. Two more went to the gallows on January 7 in Boroujerd, and another four were hung in Isfahan prison the following day. Another seven were hung in Tehran's Evin Prison on January 12 and five more the following day in the western city of Khoramabad. On January 18, one drug smuggler was executed in Zarand, and 10 drug traffickers were hung the following day at Kharaj's Rejai Shahr Prison. Six days after that, one drug offender was hung in Bojnourd. The month ended with 10 drug executions on January 27, seven at the Ghezel Hesar Prison west of Tehran, and three in the town of Orumieh.

Only one of those cases created even a ripple of media interest outside Iran, and that was because the victim, Sahra Bahrami, 46, held dual Dutch and Iranian citizenship. Bahrami was originally arrested during anti-government demonstrations in 2009, but was convicted of drug trafficking after authorities said they discovered cocaine in her home and developed evidence they said showed she had smuggled drugs into the country at least twice. Her execution has led to a freeze in diplomatic relations between Tehran and the Hague.

While Iran has been one of the governments most likely to resort to the death penalty for drug offenses, the spate of executions so far this year suggests that the Islamic Republic is stepping up the pace. Last year, Iran hanged 179 people, but with at least 65 executions overall in January, if Iran keeps up the pace, it will exceed last year's total by the end of March.

For information on ongoing efforts to curtail the use of the death penalty for drug offenses, visit the International Harm Reduction Association's Death Penalty Project.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


My name is Nat… (not verified)

Honestly? It sounds like Iran is arresting people who are Anti-Government and developing fake drug evidence against them so they can execute them and not get so much backlash cause we all know drugs are so bad...right? lol


I am on a middle ground over the death penalty I don't always agree with some people who are executed but there are many which I do. None of them have anything to do with drugs alone. I don't care if one person supplied the entire world supply of cocaine. Unless he is capturing people and forcing them to take it it's their choice if they wanna buy and use it. They shouldn't be executed for making those decisions either. The government leaders should be executed for the murder of 56 people...not to mention all the others they executed for false reasons.


America executes drug offenders all the time at a more alarming rate than Iran, they just leave it to the police to do it in their raids so it isn't reported as an "execution" Just the murder of an innocent...o, again wait a minute..I apologize it is reported as necessary police action!! Unless a police officer is killed by someone in self defense, then it is murder. BUT if using and carrying drugs are not crimes punishable by death in the USA then technically shouldn't these suspects have the right to defend themselves from the police shooting at them? or should they not? Some of these raids are even on people who don't have any drugs what about them? Right to defend themselves? NO? What about when they raid the wrong houses and shot anyway? NO? Those examples show that it don't take action from a suspect before the police fire because they fire even when they break down the wrong door.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 5:07pm Permalink
Arnold (not verified)

Do you really think U.S. leaders - congress, senate, and state govs- are different? Take a look at the views and values of politicians and their followers in this country. There are still hateful racists and bigots who want black people and gays to die. Its just not as out in the open as it once was. And the lies...its unbearable most of the time, but the lies continue anyway. Remember some of them... "Obama is a Muslim or terrorist" "death panels" "cannabis makes you crazy and kill people" "cannabis makes you neglect children" "cannabis makes you a communist" remember a few years ago when FoxNews spread the rumor that one of Obama's trips overseas cost 200 million dollars. Control information, make up facts, its all tyranny.

How about the fact that when you remove a tyrant, most of the time another just replaces him. If you really want a purge then most of the planet would be in that, because most people are ignorant and intolerant. You take the average person and put them in power, and likely they will rule as a tyrant - some worse than others. So I ask you, what are the minority of actual good people of the world supposed to do? Purge is not good, nor is it practical.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 9:03pm Permalink
Arnold (not verified)

You obviously did not read what I wrote. I do not think leaving tyrants in power is good. And you did make purge sound like killing. And my point was that there are more tyrants than you think. So how are we supposed to remove them all?

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 6:16pm Permalink
Arnold (not verified)

The tyrants doing the executing should be the ones executed!  Purge the whole planet of every cruel leader until no cruel leaders remain! 

This sounds like purging means killing to me....And no I do not think tyrants should remain in power. How the hell did you get that from what I wrote. I was just critiquing you response. If you want to include tyrants in the middle east you better include the tyrants here in the U.S. - that was my point. Use your brain and read the post next time.

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 6:21pm Permalink

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