NGO report

“Don’t let them kill us”: Iran’s relentless execution crisis since the 2022 uprising

By Amnesty International, on 4 April 2024

Published in 2024.

This research briefing documents the horrifying surge in executions in Iran in 2023, the highest in eight years. More than half of the executions were for drug-related offences amid a distressing return to a lethal antinarcotics policy since Ebrahim Raisi’s rise to presidency in 2021. With systemic impunity in Iran, the briefing reiterates the need for states to initiate criminal investigations under the principle of universal jurisdiction into crimes under international law committed by Iranian officials, irrespective of the absence or presence of the accused in their territory. Since the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising of September-December 2022, the Iranian authorities have weaponized the death penalty to create a pervasive climate of fear across the country, exert control over the population, and suppress dissent and any challenge to their iron grip on power. As a result, 2023 saw an exponential increase in the number of recorded executions. The authorities executed at least 853 people in 2023, a 48% increase from 2022 when 576 people were executed and a 172% increase from 2021 when 314 people were executed. Amnesty International believes that the real number of executions is higher, but the Iranian authorities are not transparent about the number of people executed each year and do not make data on executions publicly available.