THE hanging of a former child bride is among what has been
described as a "staggering" surge in executions in Iran, reported
Farzaneh Moradi, who was reportedly forced into marriage at the
age of 15, was hanged on Tuesday last week after being tried for
murdering her husband. She originally confessed to the murder, but
later claimed that it was carried out by a man who persuaded her to
confess to the crime, on the basis that a young mother would not be
executed. The court would not allow a revision to her original
confession, the UN reports.
"The Government continues to execute individuals at a staggering
rate, despite serious questions about fair trial standards," the
UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, Christof Heyns, said on Wednesday.
It is reported that at least 176 persons have been hanged in
Iran this year. Most of those executed were found guilty of
drug-related offences, which the UN argues is "in violation
of international legal provisions limiting the permissibility of
capital punishment to the 'most serious' crimes".
Last month, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights reported that at least 500 people were known to have been
executed in 2013, including 57 in public.
The latest statement from the UN comes days after a visit to
Iran by Baroness Ashton, the EU's highest level diplomat. In
Brussels, Iranian exiles protested against the trip, the first
visit of a senior EU leader to Iran since 2008, displaying photos
of public hangings in Iran outside the EU headquarters.
Baroness Ashton was also criticised within Iran after meeting
women activists on Saturday, International Women's Day. Among those
she met was Narges Mohammadi, vice-president of the Defenders of
Human Rights Center, who was released in 2012 after being sentenced
for 11 years for "gathering and colluding to commit crimes against
national security" and "spreading propaganda against the
On Tuesday, Marziyeh Afkham, spokeswoman for the Iranian foreign
ministry, said that "such arrangements would not help Iran-EU ties,
and will only deepen the distrust of the Iranian nation towards the
Human Rights Watch reports that at least 14 women are held in
the women's political prisoners ward at Evin prison in Tehran.
Among them are Maryam Shafipour, a student, sentenced to seven
years in prison for "violating national security". In 2009, she had
campaigned for the opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.
Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch said that Saturday was
"an occasion to shed light on the courageous women behind bars in
Iran solely because they spoke out for people's rights or called
for an overhaul of the country's discriminatory laws".