The Week in Review: May 24th- May 31st


May 31 – A preliminary report by Iranian authorities into the May 19 death of former President Ebrahim Raisi said there were no signs of sabotage after his helicopter crashed into mountains on the Azerbaijan border.

The report did not explain why the helicopter carrying Raisi was the only one of three helicopters on the same journey transporting other officials to crash, nor why one passenger remained alive hours after the aircraft had made a hard landing.

The report has been met with skepticism by international news agencies and the Iranian diaspora following a series of contradicting reports by official Iranian news channels.

The number of executions in the Islamic Republic carried out in 2023 drove the number of executions around the world to an eight year high, according to a May 29 report by Amnesty International.

At least 1,153 people were executed by governments last year, with three quarters of those executions carried out by the Islamic Republic.

The regime in Iran is the second most active government after China’s for its use of the death penalty and is the world’s most prolific executioner of women and children.

And a letter signed by 600 Iranian activists has urged the United Nations to acknowledge that any commemoration of former Iran President Ebrahim Raisi would be a human rights violation.

The U.N. General Assembly tribute, which is a standard U.N. procedure carried out whenever a world leader dies while sitting as a head of state, could also be boycotted by the U.S., according to a report by Reuters.

Raisi was accused of crimes against humanity by international human rights watchdogs following his involvement in 1988 with the Death Commission, which oversaw the executions of thousands of political prisoners, as well as overseeing a lethal crackdown on women protesters in Iran in 2022.

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