Iran has reportedly executed at least 183 people during the first six months of 2011, with reports of an additional 130 executions that have gone unacknowledged.
Those figures, according to Amnesty International statistics, put Iran on course for a record year for capital punishment. In 2010, 253 people were executed, including 170 people for drug offenses. Up to 300 additional people are also believed to have been killed.
According to Iran Human Rights, an independent watchdog, the actual number is even higher. A total of 25 people were hanged on July 3 in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, west of Iran. The executions, which were believed to be for drug-related crimes, were not reported by official media, the group says.
The number of public hangings is also on the rise, according to Amnesty International. At least 13 men have been hanged in public this year as of April 27, compared to 14 such executions recorded by the group in 2010.
Two juveniles -- identified only as "A.N." and "H.B." -- were among three people hanged in public in southern Iran after being convicted of rape and murder they committed at age 17.
"Yet again, Iran has distinguished itself by being the only country this year to execute juvenile offenders. No more juvenile offenders must die at the hands of the state,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said in a statement released in April. "Not only were these young men executed for crimes committed when aged under 18, but their executions were carried out in public. Public executions are not only a violation of the right to life, but are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated."