Iran hanged 47 people in past three weeks: HR groups

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 18, 2011 07:40 hrs

Iran has hanged nearly 50 people during the past three weeks, human rights groups have claimed.

The Guardian quotes the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) as saying that 47 prisoners, an average of about one person every eight hours, has been executed since the beginning of 2011.

This revelation came amidst news that the 'death by stoning' sentenced imposed on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for adultery charges, has been apparently reduced to 10 years of imprisonment.

Zohre Elahian, head of the parliamentary human rights committee, wrote in a letter to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff: "Although the stoning sentence has not been finalised yet, the hanging sentence has been suspended due to her children's pardon," adding that Ashtiani has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Iranian officials have made confusing statements about Ashtiani's fate in the recent weeks, which the rights groups believe is a tactic to divert attention from the number of executions or arrests of the political activists in the country.

"Issuing old news about the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, by way of a letter from a parliamentarian to the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, is being used to distract from the more pressing news about the rate of executions in the country," Drewery Dyke, of Amnesty International, said.

Ali Saremi, accused of waging war on God, and Hossein Khezri, a Kurdish prisoner accused of belonging to the Pejak, an armed Kurdish opposition group, were the two known political activists who were hanged recently in Iran, the paper said.

The ICHRI said that Iran executes more people per capita than any other country, and is next to China. Iran executed at least 179 people in 2010 and 388 in 2009. (ANI)