According to Amnesty, 853 people were executed in Iran in 2023, 48 percent more than the previous year. The organization calls for harsh diplomatic consequences.

There are protest signs in front of the Chancellery in Berlin.

No to the death penalty in Iran – protest in front of the Chancellery in July 2024 Photo: Bernd Friedel/imago

SEDAN taz | “Justice for my father,” Elaheh Bayat writes in his online petition. Her father, Shahriyar Bayat, was arrested during the “Women for Freedom of Life” protests in Iran in autumn 2022 and has now been sentenced to death. He is accused of posting criticism of the regime on social media. The Islamic Republic's judiciary calls this an “insult to the Prophet.” “My father is innocent,” her daughter, who has lived in Germany since 2022, tells Taz.

He hasn't seen his father for two years. He is a “completely normal person.” Authorities only gathered alleged evidence that he had “insulted the Prophet” in cell phone photographs of him. “These images could have been posted by anyone and shared among friends.”

Activist and former prisoner Arash Sadeghi writes about During the interrogation, Bayat was presented with social media posts that he did not produce. However, he was sentenced to death. The family fears an imminent execution. Bayat would not be the first to be executed for allegedly “insulting the Prophet” in social media posts.

Relatives often find out about executions through the media.

“In 2023, at least two people were executed on charges arising solely from the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, religion and belief,” writes Amnesty International in the latest report on the death penalty in Iran. Social media users Sadrollah Fazeli Zar'e and Yousef Mehrdad were executed in Arak on May 8, 2023, among other things, for allegedly “insulting the Prophet of Islam.” His relatives only found out about this through the media.

More than 853 people were executed in Iran in 2023, the highest number since 2015 and 48 percent more than the previous year, according to Amnesty International. The Baloch in the southeast of the country are especially affected. They only represent five percent of the population, but 20 percent of those executed. “Mass executions in Iran must have notable diplomatic consequences,” demands Christian Mihr of Amnesty International Germany, “otherwise Iranian authorities will feel emboldened to execute thousands more people with impunity in the coming years.”

“The international community and the federal government must advocate for a moratorium on executions with the goal of eventually abolishing the death penalty.” The federal government should “use the possibility of universal jurisdiction to hold those responsible in Iran accountable in Germany as well.” In Germany, Elahe Bayat fights to ensure that her father is not among those executed.

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