Local sources told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that 30 prisoners convicted of drug trafficking were hanged inside Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison on Wednesday, 29 June (12 inmates), and Sunday, 3 July (18 inmates).  As with the other executions of drug traffickers carried out inside this facility, news of the executions has not yet been announced by official Judiciary authorities.  The inmates were hanged in groups.

The reports claim that all those executed were convicted of drug-related crimes.  Like other executions of previous months, these executions were carried out without due process, without the knowledge and presence of families and lawyers of those executed, and were unannounced by judicial or government officials or media.

Whereas local media and judicial authorities published news of the execution of a murder convict on the morning of 3 July in the presence of the families of the victim and the convict inside Vakilabad Prison, the secret executions of 18 inmates on the afternoon of the same day were never announced by judicial authorities.  The Campaign has previously reported on the executions of 26 Vakilabad prisoners in a secret group execution on 15 June.

The said sources have told the Campaign that as a part of the process for the executions, a special rope for each death row convict accompanies the execution order from the Prosecutor General’s Office, dispatched to the Mashad Prosecutor’s Office.  The mass execution orders are carried out in the presence of Mashad Prosecutor or his deputy, Head of the Vakilabad Prison or his representative, Head of the Prison Security or his representative, the prison shift judge, Commander of the Police Station inside Police Complex, Commander of the Main Police Station of Western Mashad, and a representative from Mashad Medical Examiner’s Office.  Most of these executions were carried out in the late afternoon, before sunset.

During the past weeks, Mashad Prosecutor Mahmoud Zoghi confirmed the “high rate of unannounced executions” inside Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison, and without referring to executions carried out in 2009 and 2010, reported of “five instances of ” group executions of drug trafficking convicts just in the “first three month of the [Iranian] year” [March 21-May 21 2011]. (Link to Mr. Zoghi’s statements on ISNA News Agency website)

The Campaign has repeatedly reported similar executions of “hundreds of prisoners” in 2009, 2010, and 2011 at Vakilabad Prison in Mashad.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran warns that in addition to the widespread secret executions inside Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison, other unannounced executions are routinely taking place inside other prisons in the country, and specifically inside Birjand Prison, Ghezel Hessar Prison in Karaj, Taybad Prison, Orumiyeh Prison, and Karoon Prion in Ahvaz.  Local sources believe that most of these summary and secret executions are related to drug trafficking convicts and so long as names of convicts and details of their cases are not clearly announced, many details about the widespread killing will remain unknown.

The Campaign has repeatedly warned about secret executions inside prisons nationwide.

Over the past few days, Mohammad Bagher Bagheri, a Deputy with the South Khorassan Prosecutor’s Office, implicitly accepted the secret group executions of drug trafficking convicts inside Birjand Prison in eastern Iran.  Without referring to similar executions in 2009 and in 2011, he reported of executions of “140 drug traffickers” in that facility in 2010.  None of Mr. Bagheri’s admitted executions had previously been announced in 2010. (Link to Mr. Bagheri’s statements on Mehr News Agency website)

South Khorasan Province is one of the most sparsely populated provinces in eastern Iran and its capital is Birjand.  Southern Khorasan’s population size ranks 22nd in the nation.  Confirmation of 140 unannounced executions in 2010 in the small and sparsely populated Southern Khorasan Province, announced after a whole year and on the sidelines of a press conference, is indicative of the horrific statistics of secret executions of drug-trafficking convicts in prisons all over the country.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran condemns secret group executions inside Iranian prisons, and demands transparency and accountability by Iranian authorities, who so far have refrained from providing details in this area and continue to carry out such executions.  The Campaign asks the Iranian judicial authorities to end their secrecy about the executions and demands clarification of the hidden dimensions and the legal process leading to these executions.