Iran: Broadcasting injustice, boasting of mass killing
On 2 August 2016, 25 Sunni Muslim men – 22 of them from Iran’s Kurdish minority and the other three of Iraqi nationality – were executed in Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran. The men had been convicted of the vaguely worded crime, under Iranian law, of “enmity against God” (moharebeh), in connection with a number of armed activities, which had taken place mainly in Kurdistan Province between 2009 and 2011.
The mass execution, which was carried out without notice to their families and lawyers, sent shockwaves across the media in Iran and throughout the world, and evoked widespread condemnation.
In the months and years preceding the executions, many human rights groups, including Amnesty International, had expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the legal proceedings leading to the men’s convictions and had called on the Iranian authorities to quash their convictions (and consequently their death sentences), and grant the men a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty.
By carrying out the executions, the authorities displayed their disregard for fair trial rights and the right to life. In the hours and days that followed the mass execution, the Iranian authorities embarked on a media campaign intended to dehumanize the executed men in the eyes of the public and justify their executions.