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…

‘Mahatma Gandhi Tried His Best to Save Bhagat Singh’s Life’

Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh
The 85th death anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, the revolutionary icon of the freedom struggle, who attained martyrdom at the young age of 23, falls on March 23, 2016.

Alongwith Sukhdev and Rajguru, Bhagat Singh was hanged to death less than a week before the commencement of the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress, on March 29, 1931, a landmark event of India’s freedom struggle in which economic freedom was equated with political freedom.

The year 1928 was marked by an anti-Simon Commission upsurge everywhere in India. On 30 October 1928, the Simon Commission faced a huge hostile crowd led by Lala Lajpat Rai at Lahore Station. Lala was severely beaten by the Police under JA Scot, British SP and he later succumbed to his head injury.

The whole nation was stunned by this savagery. As news of the attack on Lajpat Rai spread, the country reacted with anger.

Bhagat Singh was appalled. He could not believe that a white man could dare take a stick in hand and set upon Lajpat Rai. The HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republic Army) decided to undertake retaliatory action. On 17 December, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and Chandra Shekhar Azad mistook the ASP, JP Scot for Saunders, as they pounced on him and shot him dead.

A few months later, on 8 April 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Datta threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly Hall in Delhi. It was hurled from the midst of a packed gallery, not aimed at anybody, but to draw the attention of the House, the Indian people and the British rulers in India.

As Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Dutt had planned not to escape after throwing the bomb, they were arrested. While Dutt was sentenced to transportation for life in the Assembly Bomb Case, Bhagat Singh, along with Rajguru and Sukhdev, was sentenced to death for the murder of Saunders in what became famous as the Lahore conspiracy case.

While in jail, Bhagat Singh took up the cause of bettering jail conditions and commenced a hunger strike. The Jail Committee requested Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt to give up their hunger strike, but they declined.

As the fast continued indefinitely with no solution in sight, Jawaharlal Nehru visited Bhagat Singh and the other hunger strikers in jail.

Finally, it was Bhagat Singh’s father who had his way. He came armed with a resolution by the Congress, urging them to give up the hunger strike.

The revolutionaries respected the Congress party because they knew of its struggle for India’s freedom. They called Gandhi ‘an impossible visionary’ but they saluted him for the awakening he had brought about in the country.

As days of execution of Bhagat Singh and his comrades drew near, appeals from all over India, from all sections of people poured in, usually addressed to the Viceroy, asking him to stay the execution.
Gandhi met Irwin on 19th March and pleaded for the reprieve of Bhagat Singh and his two colleagues from the death sentences to which they had been condemned. He reinforced this oral request with a powerful appeal to the charity of a “great Christian” in Young India.

Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev were hanged to death on March 23, 1931. As the news of Bhagat Singh’s execution spread, the nation went into mourning. There were processions throughout the country. Many went without food. People wore black badges and shut down their businesses to express their grief.

A pall of gloom hung over the Motilal Nehru pandal at the annual Congress session in Karachi. When the session was scheduled for 29 March 1931, nobody had an inkling that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru would be hanged six days ahead of schedule.

A procession to be led by president-elect Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was abandoned in grief. 

Lord Irwin took the public into confidence on his reasons for rejecting Gandhi’s appeal. In his farewell speech on 26th March, 1931, Irwin said:
As I listened the other day to Mr Gandhi putting the case for commutation formally before me, I reflected first on what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of devotees of a creed fundamentally opposed to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment on these matters to be influenced or deflected by purely political considerations. I could imagine no case in which under the law the penalty had been more directly deserved.

Source: the quint, Praveen Davar, March 23, 2016. Praveen Davar is a member of the Indian National Congress.

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