Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

It's been 2 years since a UK businessman was sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

The family of Mohammad Asghar, who is mentally ill and becoming more frail in bad prison conditions, want him brought back to Scotland.

The family of a pensioner condemned to hang in Pakistan have told how they fear he's become a forgotten prisoner 2 years after being sent to death row.

Languishing in a secure Pakistan hospital, sentenced to death for blasphemy, Edinburgh businessman Mohammad Asghar can no longer read the newspapers that used to keep him occupied.

Cataracts have robbed the 71-year-old of his vision, removing one of the last remaining links to the outside world from which he was removed 6 years ago.

Mentally ill, frail and alone, the grandfather is confined to one windowless room except for the half an hour each day when he's allowed to walk in the corridor outside.

He has suffered with vitamin D deficiency through lack of exposure to sunlight and muscles in his legs have wasted through lack of exercise.

At home in Scotland, his heartbroken daughter Jasmine Rana is renewing her call to the governments of Britain and Pakistan to finally allow her father to come home.

The mum-of-4 said: "I honestly thought that the Government would take action and get him back.

"David Cameron said he would intervene. The Foreign Office send me emails on how he is, with messages from him. He always tells us not to worry, just to get on with our lives. But that's him trying to protect us.

"We are still no further forward in getting dad back where he belongs.

"I'm terrified for him. I can't sleep, I wake up crying. My children forget what he looks like. 2 of his brothers have died since he's been in jail. Someone has to help him now."

Mohammad, who ran several grocery shops in Edinburgh, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The father-of-5 had suffered seizures and depression since having a stroke.

In 2010, he left Edinburgh for Pakistan - where he owned property - shortly after being discharged from hospital, where he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Within weeks, he had been arrested in Punjab, accused of writing letters in which he claimed to be the prophet.

In January 2014, he was sentenced to hang, despite his legal team insisting he was too sick even to stand trial.

Blasphemy is such a highly charged crime in Pakistan that he is constantly at risk of vigilante attacks. He was only moved to hospital from jail after being shot in the back by a prison guard who was supposed to be protecting him.

Human rights group Reprieve lobbied the British government for Mohammad's release and a 70,000- signature petition was delivered to Downing Street in October 2014.

In 2014, Jasmine took a petition to Downing Street.

But despite assurances of top-level intervention, he has remained locked up far from home.

Jasmine said: "Now he's on his own, apart from the guards and the doctors who are allowed in to treat him.

"We had to argue for him to get a radio and, even then, he's only allowed certain stations.

"I send pictures of my children so he can see how they're growing. But I can't explain how terrible it feels. Whenever I'm ill, I find myself thinking it's nothing to how bad things must be for him."

In December 2014, Pakistan lifted a 7-year moratorium on the death penalty. Amnesty International say 300 people have been executed since then.

Jasmine added: "Every time I hear someone has been executed, I can't bear it. I would love to go out and see him but I'm told it's not safe for me.

"I would plead with anyone who will listen - please let him come home."

The family's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said they had been told not to speak about the ordeal for fear of jeopardising their father's case.

But they've become deeply frustrated by the government's failure to act.

He said: "The Prime Minister said he was taking this case seriously but, 2 years on, the Asghars are no longer willing to wait for the call telling them their father is dead because of illness, a hangman's noose or a fanatic's bullet."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist Mohammad's case remains a high priority.

They said: "We continue to raise it at senior levels in Pakistan to ensure he is receiving the best possible support."

Source: dailyrecord.co.uk, January 31, 2016

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