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 theof 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 US condemnation and outcry from human rights groups.
Last week, U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk sounded the alarm over Iran’s “abominable” track record this year, with an average ofbeing put to death each week.
More than 210 people have already been executed inthis year, most of them for drug-related offenses, but a United Nations statement said the actual number is likely much higher.
“On average so far this year, over ten people are put to death each week in Iran, making it one of the world’s highest executors,” said Turk, adding that the execution rate in 2023 puts Iran “worryingly on the same track as last year when around 580 people were reportedly executed.”
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 jointin April. At the time, representatives from those organizations warned that Iran’s “killing machine” may continue to push ahead with executions this year “in order to spread fear among people.”
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.
On May 9, after Iran had recently hanged two men on charges of spreading blasphemy on social media and executed Swedish-Iranian dissident Habib Chaab for “terrorism,” the U.N. said at least 45 people, including 22 people from the Baluch minority, had been executed in the previous 14 days alone. Most of those executed were put to death on drug-related charges.