Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran

Imminent Risk of Execution for Dozens at Adelabad Prison, Shiraz

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran
March 28, 2022
Appeal/Urgent Action

Dozens of inmates convicted of drug-related offenses may be at risk of imminent execution at Adelabad Prison in Shiraz, Fars Province following the transfer of 52 people from Pirbano, a prison dedicated to drug offenders on Shiraz’s outskirts, according to an Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) source. The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have already carried out, in secret, several executions at a time when Iranians are busy preparing for or celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. This is a highly unusual practice, even for the Iranian judiciary, which pauses the implementation of executions on and around Nowruz (March 11 through April 4).

Several sources have told ABC that Adelabad has been on security alert and guards and prisoners are tightly controlled to prevent information about these executions from reaching the public. Given the securitized environment of Adelabad and the lack of proper access to sources, it is difficult to ascertain the true total number of executions. Nonetheless, human rights groups have received information that from March 4 until March 16, more than 15 individuals may have been executed on drug-related charges there. ABC confirms at least nine drug-related executions at Adelabad around March 14 to 16 (and an additional two for non-drug-related charges). At least six of the drug-related executions confirmed by ABC are distinct from those reported by other groups.

On March 15, at least three men were put to death on drug trafficking charges, according to an ABC’s well-informed source. One of them, an Afghanistan national and the father of eight, had been convicted of transporting 2.170 kilograms of heroin. Another one, a father of three, was executed for transporting 21.2 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, which he had been told was home-made alcoholic beverage.[1]

Another six men were executed shortly before or after the 15th: family members of three were present to collect the bodies of executed loved ones on that day, and family members of three (including an individual reportedly 17 years of age) had come for final visitations.[2]

Reports by other human rights groups suggest the number of recent drug-offense executions at Adelabad could be higher. Iran Human Rights and Human Rights Activists in Iran News Agency (HRANA) reported the execution of four men on March 13, though only the identity of two is known.[3]  

HRANA (as of March 18) has named at least three other individuals executed on drug-related charges in this period. on March 4 and 16.[4]

Iran Human Rights has reported (as of March 21) 11 drug-related executions at Adelabad in the period in question. Four ethnic Baluch men (one coincides with a case reported by HRANA) were executed on March 9. On March 10, a man known by his first name only was put to death and two Afghanistan nationals (one named) were also reportedly executed on March 13, and four others, all identified, were executed on March 16.[5] 52 prisoners were reportedly transferred to Adelabad from Pirbano Prison, dedicated to drug offenders, on March 8. The nine individuals whose executions are confirmed by ABC, were among these transferees. A military prison staff member has told ABC’s source that Adelabad personnel were on alert and prevented from going on leave until March 26.[6]

At least two non-drug-related executions have been secretly conducted at Adelabad in the past month, according to an ABC source, on March 12 or 13.

Only three of these executions were reported by the official news service of Iran’s judiciary, quoting a Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor official in Shiraz, who specified that the executions were drug related; the report does not mention identities, location, or date of execution.[7]



Pirbano, located some 20 kilometers southwest of Shiraz, comprises five wards: four for men and one for women, each holding some 400 individuals. Pirbano’s prefabricated metal construction is inadequately heated and cooled, and the hygienic situation is poor, such that an individual held there was consistently ill at visitations. COVID-19 measures taken by prison officials comprised a complete quarantine and visitation cancellation for two years, and a 14-day quarantine for new entries. Drugs are reportedly widespread at Pirbano. Their sentences range from a few months in prison to death. Nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey are believed to be held there, according to a source with knowledge of the prison.


[1] ABC correspondence with informed source, March 15, 2021

[2] ABC correspondence with informed source, March 15, 2021

[3] Iran Human Rights, March 16, 2022, https://www.iranhr.net/en/articles/5142/; HRANA, March 16, 2022, https://www.hra-news.org/2022/hranews/a-34123/

[4] HRANA, March 18, https://www.hra-news.org/2022/hranews/a-34151/

[5] Iran Human Rights, March 21, 2022, https://iranhr.net/en/articles/5147/

[6] ABC correspondence with informed source, March 15, 2021. A second source reports at least 15 individuals transferred. Another well connected source has told ABC that prison insiders have confirmed the transfer from Pirbano Prison.

[7]Mizan, March 19, 2022, https://www.mizan.news/fa/news/804139