Five men on death row in Iran have been transferred from Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj near Tehran to the capital’s Evin Prison, sparking fears about their imminent execution, Amnesty International said.
At least one of the men, Hamid Gholamy, is due to be executed tomorrow morning, 7 November, after conviction of a drugs-related offence in June 2011, which may be the same alleged offence for which he was acquitted three months earlier due to a lack of evidence.
Gholamy was reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in detention and was awaiting a decision on his clemency request when he was suddenly transferred to Evin Prison.
“These men’s lives must be spared by the Iranian authorities, who regrettably seem bent on continuing their state killing spree,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.
“Of the more than 380 people we believe were put to death in Iranian prisons so far this year, the vast majority were convicted of drugs-related offences – which fall far short of the ‘most serious crimes’ threshold set by international human rights law.”
Under Iranian law, those convicted of drugs offences are not permitted an opportunity to exercise their right to appeal, as required by international law.
Many alleged drugs offenders are executed after unfair trials in which they have been denied the possibility of a review by a higher tribunal.
“Amnesty International opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases. While Iran’s security forces have a right to prosecute individuals for drugs offences, they must remove capital punishment for such crimes,” said Harrison.
Last month, 10 men were executed in Evin Prison, shortly after they too were transferred there from Ghezel Hesar Prison.