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…

Final appeal relating to Tokyo subway sarin attack dismissed by Japan's High Court

The aftermath of the 1995 Tokyo Subway sarin gas attack that killed 12
The aftermath of the 1995 Tokyo Subway sarin gas attack that killed 12
It has been 21 years since 5 men released the deadly nerve agent in carriages of crowded commuter trains during Tokyo's morning rush-hour.

Twelve people died, 50 people were left permanently injured, and thousands of others were temporarily blinded by the gas.

The perpetrators were all members of a religious cult known as Aum Shinrikyo, which means "supreme truth".

The cult had prepared for the attack at a remote sheep station it owned in Western Australia.

The sarin gas attack in Tokyo is regarded as the first ever use of a weapon of mass destruction in an act of terrorism.

The perpetrators of the crime thought they were carrying out a holy act in line with the beliefs of the doomsday cult.

The prosecutors of the criminal trials believe that day was chosen to divert the attention of police who were planning a raid on the cult's headquarters.

The head of the cult, Shoko Asahara, was found guilty of masterminding the attacks in 2004 and sentenced to death by hanging, but his execution was postponed while the appeals of his fellow criminals were heard.

He is now 61 years old and spends his days in solitary confinement.

Hiromi Shimada, the author of a book about Aum Shinrikyo, said the next question would be when the 13 men facing the death penalty would go to the gallows.

"Since there are so many of them, I think it'll be difficult to execute all of them at once," he said.

"The Minister of Justice has to make the decision but it can't be carried out just by the minister's decision.

"I think the Government has to be involved also, so it's hard to the think the executions will happen all at once."

Cult leader's execution may be delayed

The gas attack crime in 1995 did not turn the cult's followers away from the faith.

Asahara devised the religion in his one-bedroom flat in Tokyo and based his teachings on a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism and declared himself to be the Christ.

After his imprisonment, Aum Shinrikyo split into 2 distinct groups, and the Japanese Government now regards those groups to be branches of what it calls a dangerous religion.

Some say the execution of the leader Asahara might now be delayed by the Government to prevent him being seen as a martyr by the remaining devotees.

Hiromi Shimada said very little was known about Asahara's condition in jail.

"We hardly hear what's going on inside the prison so I don't know in detail, but his daughter has published a memoir and wrote that perhaps her father has schizophrenia," he said.

"I think his mental condition has become worse over time."

Support for the death penalty in Japan has been falling over the years and there are usually only 2 or 3 executions carried out each year, and those are reserved for criminals who have committed multiple murders.

Asahara and his fellow perpetrators join about 100 other criminals who currently wait on death row.

Source: abc.net.au, September 8, 2016

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