Man hanged in Iran, yet alive

28 Octobre 2013

In Iran, a 37-year-old man, despite being hanged for 12 minutes, got a fresh lease of life in the morgue the following day. Alireza was an inmate in Bojnurd prison and was sentenced to death on charges of possessing drugs.

Credits -- SIPA
Credits -- SIPA
Though the convict was declared dead by the doctors after being hanged, something unusual caught the eyes of the worker in the morgue while preparing the body for the family to collect. Steam was emanating from the body: Alireza was alive. He was immediately taken to the Bojnurd Imam Ali Hospital. The state run newspaper Jam-e-Jam broke the news first.

The family of the convict was nevertheless delighted, but their happiness almost turned out to be short lived when the jurists pressed for Alireza to be hanged once again. According to them, “the verdict was death sentence, and it will be carried out once the man gets well”. The Iranian laws state that the person must be conscious and relatively healthy before hanging.

However, Iranian laws let the convicts walk free if they manage to climb out of the ground after being buried up to neck or somehow survive the ordeal. Such punishments are usually awarded in cases of adultery.

Executions in Iran

Iran has been in the top five countries in the world implementing death sentence. China leads the pack. According to the figures by Amnesty International, Iran executed nearly 314 people in the year 2012. Many suggest that this figure maybe grossly underestimated. Most of the executions in Iran are carried out for drug-related offences. Iran has high rates of drug use, especially by its younger citizens, this does not come as a surprise, since its neighbor, Afghanistan, is known to be the world’s largest producer of drugs.

Since the new President Hassan Rouhani took over the leadership, nearly 125 executions have been carried out. Though a joint statement by International Campaign for Human Rights and Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre criticizes the president of not complying with his promise on the human rights reform, the fact remains that the judiciary is independent from the government. The chief of the judiciary is appointed by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran has carried out 508 death sentences using hanging, including 221 which have not been officially confirmed.

A fresh lease of life

After days of deliberations, the judiciary decided to spare the life of Alireza. Many organizations including Amnesty International called for halting the second execution of the convict. The justice minister of Iran, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, also voiced that there was “no need” for Alireza to be hanged again, since he had survived his execution. He also added that any such move would be ill-advised and would tamper the image of Iran amongst world nations.

In his statement to the news agency IRNA, he said: “The convicted individual who remained alive after execution is currently under an oxygen device and if he remains alive, it is no longer expedient for the execution order to be carried out again”.

Lire cet article en français