Twelve Iranian ‘Thugs’ Executed

A new series of executions has started in Iran. On 22 July 2007, in the notorious Evin Prison, the Islamic authorities hanged in one day twelve “thugs” accused of homosexuality, drug smuggling, theft, and violation of Islamic morality.

Even if these executed twelve Iranians were thugs, they are the products of the 29- year policies of the Islamic regime.

The word “thug” in Iranian socio-economic terms would refer to a group of people who are socially and economically marginalised. Such “thugs” are mostly derived from poor classes, and they confront all unfair aspects of the society.

Because of the high rate of unemployment, poverty, widespread illiteracy, and a lack of welfare and a social protection system, they are direct victims of such a society and spontaneously revolt against the socio-economic pressures.

Bully thugs with a religious identity can be recruited into IRI’s Security Forces or are systematically used in the organised pro-regime militias called plainclothes (lebas shakhsi) to intimidate the regime’s opponents, or beat anti-regime demonstrators. So, a number of IRI’s Security Forces, who now arrest “thugs”, are in fact the recruited ex-thugs. They now accuse the non-recruited thugs of violence, robbery, drugs, whereas these charges could be applied to them too, if they were not recruited by the regime.

Some young Iranian men have been flogged for taking drugs, drinking alcohol or simply for listening to a personal walkman while walking down the street. They react in their manner to the lack of personal freedoms. The regime calls these people “thugs” too.

Urban youth in particular call for social and political freedom. Youth is always the sector of the population which reacts most fiercely and most violently to their aspirations not being fulfilled.

Young Iranians make up an estimated 70 percent of their country’s population. More than half of the country’s population is under the age of 20. The generation born under the IRI’s reign is increasingly showing frustration with Iran’s lack of social freedoms and ongoing troubled economy.

Iran’s unemployment rate is now 15 percent (11.20 percent in 2006). Youth make up a large proportion of the unemployed. Official figures say youth aged 15 to 19 account for 39 percent of the country’s active work force and the unemployment rate stands at about 34 percent among the age groups of 15 to 19 years old and at about 16 percent among the 25 to 29 years age group.

According to some statistics of 2003, about 20,000 teenagers live on the streets of Iran’s larger cities, but most of them reside in Tehran. The problem has been fuelled by poverty and aggravated by the economic crisis.

A report by the United Nations has found that Iran has the highest drug addiction rate in the world. “According to the U.N. World Drug Report for 2005, Iran has the highest proportion of opiate addicts in the world — 2.8 percent of the population over age 15,” the report said. “With a population of about 70 million and some government agencies putting the number of regular users close to 4 million, Iran has no real competition as world leader in per capita addiction to opiates, including heroin.” The report added that a government poll had shown that almost 80 percent of Iranians believed that there was a direct link between unemployment and drug addiction.

According to the Iranian National Centre for Addiction Studies, 20 percent of Iran’s adult population was “somehow involved in drug abuse”. Many Iranians describe high drug availability as evidence of a plot by the regime. “If they could create enough jobs, enough entertainment, why would people turn to drugs?” economists say.

The IRI dreams of a total Islamic society, but people, especially young ones, do not bow to an Islamic way of life in any standard. Furthermore, social poverty, homeless tramps, high unemployment rates and the lack of social and individual freedom leads to the rise of unsolvable problems for the Iranian youth, described by an incompetent regime as “thugs”. With these current executions, continuous human rights violations in Iran seem to enter a new phase of repression against the whole Iranian society.

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