At least 267 People Executed in Iran in 2020 Despite COVID-19 Pandemic


By Iran Human Rights and Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM), on 5 May 2021

The 13th annual report on the death penalty by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty), shows that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Islamic Republic continued carrying out executions as in the previous years, and remains the only country to have executed juvenile offenders in 2020.

2020 Annual Report at a glance

  • At least 267 people were executed in 2020, compared to 280 in 2019 and 273 in 2018.
  • 91 executions (34%) were announced by official sources. In 2019 and 2018, 84 people (30%) and 93 (34%) respectively, had been announced by authorities
  • 66% of all executions included in the 2020 report, i.e. 176 executions, were not announced by the authorities
  • At least 211 executions (79% of all executions) were for murder charges
  • At least 25 people (approximately 10%) were executed for drug-related charges
  • 1 public execution, the lowest number in the last 15 years
  • At least 4 juvenile offenders were among those executed
  • At least 9 women were executed
  • 2 executions in relation to the nationwide protests
    1 execution based on charges related to running a political social media channel
    1 execution for consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • At least 38 executions in 2020 and more than 3,619 executions since 2010 have been based on death sentences issued by the Revolutionary Courts
  • At least 662 prisoners sentenced to death for murder charges were forgiven by the families of the murder victims in 2020 (374 in 2019) – a significant increase compared to previous years
    Warning for 2021

Warning for 2021

(…) Prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who wrote the foreword of the current report expressed concern about the increasing crackdown in the ethnic regions of Iran: “…I am particularly worried about the recent arrests in Sistan and Baluchistan and Kurdistan, and I hope that anti-death penalty organisations will pay special attention to the detainees, because I fear that we will be facing another wave of executions over the coming year.”
(…) We are also just months away from the June presidential elections in Iran. In previous years, Iranian authorities have intensified the use of the death penalty in the months leading up to the elections, in order to create fear and prevent protests from taking place in the relatively open atmosphere afforded in the preceding and post-election days. IHR and ECPM therefore warn of a potential wave of executions in April and May 2021. We call on the international community to pay special attention to the human rights situation and respond in a stronger manner to reports of executions and crackdowns aimed at preventing protests that have been brewing since November 2019.

To read the full statement, please visit:

Attached documents


Annual report on the death penalty in Iran 2020

By Iran Human Rights (IHR), ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty), on 4 May 2021


NGO report

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

More details See the document

The 13th annual report on the death penalty by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) provides an assessment and analysis of the death penalty trends in 2020 in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

More articles