Iran executes five people over drug trafficking

Iranian authorities executed five people over "armed drug smuggling" on May 15, 2023. [VOA]

Iranian authorities on Monday executed five people over "armed drug smuggling" in the south of the country, the judiciary reported.

The convicts, "all criminals and armed drug smugglers," had been sentenced to death by hanging in a verdict upheld by Iran's top court, the judiciary's website Mizan Online quoted Mojtaba Ghahramani, Chief Justice of the southern province of Hormozgan, as saying.

"The sentences of the aforementioned were carried out this morning in Bandar Abbas and Minab prisons" in Hormozgan, he added.

The latest hangings bring to eight the number of people executed in less than a week over drug smuggling.

On Wednesday, the judiciary executed three convicted drug cartel members, following warnings from the United Nations over the "frighteningly" high number of executions in the country.

Iran executes more people a year than any other nation except China, according to human rights groups including Amnesty International.

On Monday, Iran executed two people following a rare conviction for desecrating the Koran and insulting the Prophet Mohammad, prompting U.S. condemnation and outcry from human rights groups.

On Tuesday, U.N. rights chief Volker Turk sounded the alarm over Iran's "abominable" track record this year, with an average of more than 10 people being put to death each week.

More than 210 people have already been executed in Iran this year, most of them for drug-related offenses, but a United Nations statement said the actual number is likely much higher.

The country hanged 75% more people in 2022 than the previous year, the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights and Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty said in a joint report in April.

At least 582 people were executed in Iran last year, the highest number of executions in the country since 2015 and well above the 333 recorded in 2021, the two rights groups said.

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