Iran Human RightsNorway blasts 'grotesque' hike in Iran public executions

Norway blasts ‘grotesque’ hike in Iran public executions

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AFP: Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere on Thursday blasted a sharp hike in public executions in Iran and the high use of the death penalty in the country.

OSLO, April 21, 2011 (AFP) – Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere on Thursday blasted a sharp hike in public executions in Iran and the high use of the death penalty in the country.

“The increased number of public executions using brutal methods such as suffocation by being hoisted up by a crane are particularly grotesque and not worthy of a modern society,” Stoere said in a statement.

He added Norwegian research showed Iran had executed 15 people in public so far this year, compared to 19 for all of last year.

A foreign ministry spokesman told AFP the data was obtained through human rights activists in Iran as well as international organisations.

Stoere added Norwegian figures showed Iran had executed a total of 187 so far this year, while the total number in 2010 had been as high as 682 executions.

That toll is higher than an AFP count based on media reports that put at 101 the number of executions so far this year in Iran.

“Norway is by principle against the death penalty. It is particularly worrisome that the death penalty is used in a country where the rule of law is as weak as it is in Iran,” the minister added.

Norway often uses strong language to condemn the death penalty in Iran and has frequently summons Tehran’s diplomats in Oslo to protest executions.

Last year, it summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest the highly publicised case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, whose death sentence by stoning for adultery drew widespread international condemnation.

One of her lawyers also fled to Norway last year after Tehran issued an arrest warrant for him.

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