United Nations human rights experts are calling on Iran to halt what they call an "abrupt surge" in hangings in the country since the start of 2014. The call is contained in a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Christof Heyns. The statement described Iranian authorities as carrying out the death penalty on prisoners with "alarming frequency." The statement said at least 40 people have reportedly been hanged in Iran in the first two weeks of January, with at least 33 executions reported in the past week. Read more >>
The cartoon by Peter Brookes from The Times shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on a ski lift. However, instead of a sitting on a chair like all normal people, he's in a hangman's noose. One of the skiers behind him comments, "Not a lot of change in Tehran then!"
This week President Rouhani was in the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum (hence the ski reference), where, according to The Guardian, "he urged the rest of the world to stop treating his country as pariah state, and said a deal over its nuclear programme would pave the way for the oil-rich nation to become the next big emerging market". By portraying a smiling Rouhani in a noose, the cartoonist is highlighting the fact that, despite the Iranian President's friendly façade on the international stage, it's business as usual back in Iran when it comes to human rights.