The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published the names of 101 prisoners who were executed in secret mass executions in Mashhad’s Valikabad Prison.
The list is a result of tireless research and contributions by local activists and informed individuals, who took a serious risk to their personal safety, the Campaign reports.
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, describes secret hangings as executions carried out without a fair trial and without informing defence lawyers or the families of the detainees.
In December of 2011, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, categorically denied that secret mass executions are carried out in Iran, saying: “All executions are announced to my office… if anyone has information about executions anywhere that have been secret and without the knowledge of the families, let us know and we will investigate it.”
The Campaign has compiled the names of 101 individuals executed in Vakilabad Prison without official acknowledgment between June and December of 2010. This is the first time the identities of these prisoners have been publicized.
The report indicates that prison officials informed inmates of their executions only hours before they were put to death.
The report adds: “Prison authorities hanged the inmates around dusk in an open-air hallway leading to the prison’s visiting room. Contributing to the shroud of secrecy surrounding the executions, the phones within Vakilabad Prison were disconnected hours earlier, preventing calls in and out of the prison.”
The medical examiner’s office reportedly issued the death certificates up to a day before the execution, listing “legal murder” as the cause of death.
The majority of the secret executions are said to be for drug-related charges, and some of the inmates in Vakilabad were foreign nationals, including citizens of Afghanistan, Ghana and Nigeria, who were denied access to diplomatic representatives.
International rights organizations, including the United Nations, have condemned the secret executions in Iran, and the practice was also cited as a serious rights violation in the interim report on human rights in Iran released in October 2011 by Ahamd Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur.
Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, says: “With skyrocketing execution numbers marred by unfair trials and opaque judicial proceedings, it’s time for Iran to institute a moratorium [on executions] and join the growing trend towards abolition.”