Prisoner on death row commits suicide in Iran

A 37-year-old prisoner in Zahedan, Iran, who was awaiting his execution, hanged himself on Thursday.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – A 37-year-old prisoner in Zahedan, Iran, who was awaiting his execution, hanged himself on Thursday, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA).

Omid Naroi, charged with distributing narcotics was sentenced to death, and has been in prison since 2006.

According to HRANA, the medical and mental conditions of the prisoner is unclear, but the Iranian officials have asked the family of the deceased to declare heart attack as the reason for Naroi's death.

The prisoner’s father was reportedly executed for similar charges in 1992.

Iranian Members of Parliament recently proposed that drug related offences should be convicted to lifetime imprisonment rather than capital punishment.

Prior to the parliamentarians’ proposals, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council, had spoken of making similar changes but Iran's anti-narcotic organizations disagreed with the proposal.

Iran has one of the highest rates of execution. Human rights activists continue to express their concern about the high number of killings and continue to pressure Iran to stop the death penalty.

Zahedan, Hormozgan Province, like Kurdistan is an impoverished region in Iran where minorities live.

“The rate of executions in Iran is deplorable which, if they continue at the current rate, could reach more than 1,000 this year. Case after case we hear allegations of torture, fundamentally flawed trials, all in breach of international law and standards,” Amnesty International said in a statement in November.

Kurdish journalists Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand has been in prison since 2008. In August, shortly after signing a nuclear deal with the West, Iran hung Behruz Alkhani, a 30-year-old Kurd, while he was waiting for the outcome of an appeal. Six other Kurds were also killed in May in Rajaei Prison: Hamed Ahmadi, Kamal Mollaei, Hadi Husseini, Sedigh Mohamadi, Jamshid Dehghani and Jahangir Dehghani.

Two brothers from Kermanshah, Arash and Kamyar Alaei who worked on treating HIV/AIDS, were charged with “plotting a velvety revolution to overthrow the Iranian government” and were imprisoned for three years.