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Iran Execution Trends Six Months After the New Anti-Narcotics Law

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IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MAY 28, 2018): On Monday, May 10, 2018, Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported the execution of Kiomars Nasouhi, a prisoner sentenced to death for drug offenses. This execution is the first drug-related execution registered by IHR since the latest amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law was enforced on November 14, 2017.
According to reports by IHR, at least 77 people, among them three juvenile offenders have been executed between January 1. and May 20, 2018. Four were hanged in public spaces. Of the reported executions 62 were sentenced to death for murder, seven for Moharebeh (being an “enemy of God”), seven for rape, and 1 for drug offenses. For comparison, it is reported that during the same period in 2017, at least 203 people were executed, 112 were executed for drug offenses. The significant reduction in the number of executions in 2018 seems to be due to a temporary halt in drug-related executions as the number of executions for murder charges were nearly the same as …

Kazakh President: Aqtobe Attacks Orchestrated From Abroad; Suspects Will Face Death Penalty

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has claimed that the attackers who carried out the recent attacks that rocked the northwestern city of Aqtobe "received instructions from abroad," and suggested that suspects will face the death penalty.

The June 8 comments were the first made by the Kazakh leader since dozens of gunmen carried out the attacks on June 5, prompting a "counterterrorism operation" and leaving a growing death toll of more than 20 dead, including attackers.

There have been no credible claims of responsibility for the attacks, which targeted two gun shops and a National Guard base and have left the country in a state of high alert, with several attackers still at large.

In separate statements posted to the president's official website, Nazarbaev said that "pseudo-religious radical movements who received instructions abroad" were behind the attacks, and that "a person who has taken up arms and killed people should be punished with the death penalty."

The long-serving president introduced a moratorium on capital punishment in 2003 and the death penalty was officially abolished in 2007, but the country's constitution makes an exception in cases of terrorist acts.

Also on June 8, Nazarbaev was quoted by his official website as telling security chief Vladimir Zhumakanov that in the course of the continuing manhunt, suspects "should be eliminated in the case of armed resistance."

"We are aware that they are in the region, we have identified them, and local people have been warned about it," Nazarbaev said.

The claim that the attackers had received instructions from abroad offered no indication of who may have given the instructions.

The Interior Ministry told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service on June 8 that 13 suspected attackers were killed and 4 of them injured, while 6 remain on the run. 9 have been arrested, according to the ministry.

Kazakhstan plans to hold a national day of mourning on June 9 to commemorate the victims, the president's website announced.

Security chief Zhumakanov said during his meeting with Nazarbaev that the authorities had identified and questioned 20 people who allegedly "refused to take part in the preparation stage" of the Aqtobe attacks. Zhumakanov provided no further details.

Kazakh police spokesman Almas Sadubaev has said the attackers are suspected to be followers of "nontraditional religious movements," a term often used in Central Asia to describe Islamic extremist groups.

Kazakhstan's Senate, however, in condemning what it described as a "foul criminal attack" against the country's peace and stability, has said the perpetrators' actions had "nothing to do with religion."

The country is in a state of high alert, but there are signs that life is returning to normal in Aqtobe. RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported that businesses and schools have reopened and public transportation has resumed normal operations in the city of nearly 400,000.

Funerals took place on June 8 for 3 of the civilians killed, the service reported.

The Aqtobe incidents are a rare burst of violence in the tightly controlled country of around 18 million people.

Kazakhstan witnessed major protests against planned agricultural-land reforms in April and May. More than 1,000 activists were detained around those demonstrations, and many received 10-15-day jail sentences after being convicted of planning or attending the unsanctioned rallies.

Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, June 9, 2016

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