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…

Al-Qaida hacked gay activists to death in Bangladesh

Xulhaz Mannan
Gay rights activist Xulhaz Mannan had started Roopbaan, ‪Bangladesh‬'s
first ‪‎LGBT‬ magazine. You're outraged? Like the Facebook page!
NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh’s prime minister vowed to hunt down and prosecute assailants who fatally stabbed two men, including a gay rights activist who also worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed the main opposition party and allied militants for Monday night’s killings. But a different group of radical Islamists claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack, raising doubts about Hasina’s repeated assurances that authorities have the security situation under control even as months of deadly attacks continue against outspoken atheists, moderates and foreigners.

The victims of the most recent attack were identified as USAID employee Xulhaz Mannan, who previously worked as a U.S. Embassy protocol officer, and his friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder.

Mannan, a cousin of former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni of the governing party, was also an editor of Bangladesh’s first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan. Majumder sometimes helped with the publishing, local media said.

The banned group Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, claimed responsibility in a Twitter message Tuesday for what it called a “blessed attack.”

It said the two were killed because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” and were “working day and night to promote homosexuality … with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and its Indian allies.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the “barbaric” murders in a statement Monday and said the U.S. government would support Bangladeshi efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Police said no arrests have been made in the attack, which involved at least five young men who posed as courier service employees to gain access to Mannan’s apartment building.

Prime Minister Hasina quickly blamed the radical Jamaat-e-Islami group and its political ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

“Everybody knows who are behind these killings,” Hasina told party policymakers in a meeting Monday night after the attacks, which came just days after a professor of English was hacked to death on the street of a northwestern city.

Repeating the government’s usual accusations, Hasina said the opposition was orchestrating the attacks to destabilize the country and upset her secular rule, while also retaliating against the government’s efforts to prosecute war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.

The opposition denies the allegations, saying they are being scapegoated for Hasina’s failure to maintain security and placate the country’s desire for Islamic rule.

The U.S. government and numerous rights groups have lambasted Hasina’s government for failing to keep civil society safe. Earlier this month, the U.S. said it was considering granting refuge to a select number of secular bloggers facing imminent danger in Bangladesh.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that remained an option, while describing Mannan as a “beloved member of our embassy family and a courageous advocate” for gay rights, and pledging U.S. support to Bangladeshi authorities “to ensure that the cowards who did this are held accountable.”

The rights group Amnesty International noted that Bangladesh considers homosexual relations a crime, making it harder for gay activists to report any threats against them.

The group’s South Asia director, Champa Patel, said the attack “underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country.”

Source: The Associated Press, April

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