May 20, 2023

Iran executes convicted human trafficking ringleader

Iran hanged more than 600 in 2023, rights group laments

Iran on Saturday executed a man convicted of leading a human trafficking and prostitution ring, a day after hanging three men linked to protests triggered by Mahsa Amini’s death, the judiciary said.

“Following confirmation of the sentence of Shahrouz Sokhanvari, aka Alex, in the supreme court, he was hanged this morning,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website said.

Sokhanvari was charged with “corruption on earth” for “establishing and managing a wide network of prostitution at the international level, which has been attracting Iranian and foreign girls”, Mizan added.

The judiciary said the convict had left Iran in 1983, living in countries including India, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and the United States before authorities seized him while abroad and brought him back to Iran in 2020.

It did not name the country where he was detained or the process leading to his arrest.

Sokhanvari’s execution came a day after Iran hanged three men found guilty of waging “war against God” for shooting dead three members of the security forces at a demonstration in the central city of Isfahan on November 16.

Friday’s executions drew condemnation from the West and human rights groups based outside the Islamic Republic.

Iran witnessed waves of nationwide protests following the September 16 death of 22-year-old Amini, an Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.

Iran has executed more than 220 people since the start of the year, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group.

The country executes more people annually than any other nation except China, according to human rights groups including Amnesty International.

At least 582 people were executed in Iran last year, the highest number since 2015, the two groups said.