Iran executed up to 30 people in the past month, mostly in public hangings, in a nationwide crackdown on murderers, sex offenders, drug traffickers, and other threats to "social security," reports the Observer. Human rights advocates say the sweep, also advertised as countering an alleged surge in US-backed plots to subvert the government, is intended to silence political activists.
The number of prisoners executed has reached 150 so far this year, compared to 177 in all of last year. And the public hangings appear to have been staged in new locations to make them more visible to middle class Iranians. A man and his nephew were hanged from cranes high above one of Tehran's busiest thoroughfares for the murder of a judge infamous for his harsh treatment of political dissidents.