News & Current Affairs
Iranian who survived execution will be spared second hanging, says minister
Illegal drugs are burned publicly in Tehran during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency.
Justice minister claims Alireza, found alive in morgue and now on life support, survived penalty so will not be 're-executed'
The Iranian prisoner who survived his execution and revived in the morgue having been pronounced dead, will not be hanged for a second time, Iran's justice minister has said.
The minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, said in Tehran on Tuesday night that the 37-year-old, who is now on life support, will not face a second execution, Iran's state news agency reported.
The man, identified in the Iranian media only by his first name, Alireza, was hanged this month in Bojnurd prison in Iran's northern Khorasan province.
Alireza, a father of two, had been convicted of smuggling drugs. He was arrested three years ago for possessing a kilo of crystal meth and was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court.
On the execution day medics pronounced him dead after he had been hanging by the neck for 12 minutes. Morgue workers realised he had survived only when they spotted steam (condensation) in the plastic cover he was wrapped in.
Alireza was taken to Bojnurd's Imam Ali hospital and contradictory reports have been given as to his condition. A nurse told Jam-e-Jam, a state newspaper, that his general health was satisfactory and improving every day. Other Iranian newspapers, however, reported he had slipped into a coma and was clinically brain dead.
It was also unclear whether Pourmohammadi was expressing the government's view that Alireca should not face a second hanging or whether he had succeeded in persuading Iran's judiciary to drop plans to execute him.
Iran's judiciary is an independent political institution, its head appointed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Alireza's fate rests in the hands of the judges.
The reformist Iranian newspaper, Shargh, quoted a former judiciary official as saying that Alireza should not be hanged under Iranian law. "The person who survives an execution will not be hanged again according to our laws, and in the past people were not hanged twice in similar cases," Morteza Moghtadaie told Shargh.
Last week, an Iranian grand ayatollah stepped into the case, intervening to assert his opinion that Alireza should not be "re-executed", further raising hopes that his life would be spared.
Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpaygani had previously issued a fatwa ordering re-execution of convicts who "come back to life" but issued a statement saying that his religious ruling should not be applied to Alireza's case.
Human rights organisations have called on Iran to halt any plan to execute Alireza, saying to hang him twice was "simply ghastly" and betrayed "a basic lack of humanity that sadly underpins much of Iran's justice system".
Alireza's plight has highlighted the alarming rate of executions in Iran. In recent years, Iran has been consistently among the five countries with the highest rates of executions and this year, since Hassan Rouhani became president early in August, at least 125 people have been executed.
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...