Iran secretly executed prisoners: UN
Hundreds of prisoners have been secretly executed by Iran's regime, according to a UN report that details wide-ranging human rights abuses, including torture and solitary confinement, meted out to activists, journalists and women's advocates.
The UN report, slated to be released later in the week, has been compiled by UN 'Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran' Ahmed Shaheed.
It says more than 200 "officially announced" executions have been carried out in Iran in 2011 and at least 146 secret ones in a prison in the eastern city of Mashhad.
Last year, 300 people were secretly executed there, the report, obtained by global magazine Foreign Policy, said.
Hundreds of political activists, journalists, students, filmmakers, lawyers, environmentalists, women's advocates, members of ethnic and religious minorities and Iranians with ties to Western countries have been swept into Iranian prisons since the 2009 presidential election.
While the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad government has freed some prisoners, about 500 activists remain detained.
Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran Hadi Ghaemi said those put to death in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad were charged with offenses that would not merit the death penalty elsewhere.
"The Iranian government claims they are drug offenders, but they don't give the names, so there is no way to know," Ghaemi said.
The report said more than 100 Iranians under the age of 18 have been put on death row, despite the fact that executing minors is forbidden by international covenants that Iran has joined, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Shaheed, a former foreign minister from Maldives who assumed his UN role on August 1, will present the findings to the UN General Assembly on October 19.
Having been barred from direct access to Iran, Shaheed gathered information for the report from local and international human rights organisations, witnesses and relatives of detainees.
The 21-page document discusses more than 50 specific cases, including solitary confinement and torture of prominent journalists and activists.