Iran has executed almost 700 people so far this year, in some cases for “crimes” that wouldn’t even get you jail time in the U.S.
Iran is executing people at a record pace this year. Since January, 694 people have been given the death penalty, and Amnesty International says the number will probably top 1,000 before 2015 is over.
Earlier this year, we looked at all the things that can get a person executed in Saudi Arabia. But Iran in some ways is in a league of its own. It now has the highest per capita rate in the world for inflicting capital punishment—and the government widely underreports executions—Amnesty reported.
Iranian law imposes executions on people for a host of different things, from drug smuggling and homosexual relations to denouncing Islam. Sleeping with your stepmother can also get you killed. Often executions are carried out on ethnic minorities and peaceful activists fighting for minority rights. Some crimes are punishable by execution but only after the fourth violation. Those include having unwed sex or engaging in lesbian relations—and in such cases, both parties can be punished with the death penalty.
Most executions are hangings, and despite a 2008 judicial moratorium on public executions, the hangings are often carried out in public. Stoning reportedly has been used sometimes in recent years despite a 2008 judicial moratorium against it.