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UN Experts Urge Iran To Respect International Law And Stop Horrific Executions Of Protesters

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.”

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“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.

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