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Iran must halt 'ghastly' second execution of man who survived hanging first time around

Iran must stop the execution of man who was found alive at a morgue a day after being hanged, Amnesty International urged today, after the authorities said the prisoner would be hanged for a second time once his condition improves.

‘Carrying out a second execution on a man who somehow managed to survive 12 minutes of hanging ... is simply ghastly’
Philip Luther

The 37-year-old, identified as 'Alireza M', was hanged in Bojnourd prison in north-east Iran last week after being convicted of drug offences.

According to official Iranian state media, a doctor declared the man dead after the 12 minute-hanging, but when the prisoner’s family went to collect his body the following day he was found to still be breathing. He is currently in hospital, but a judge reportedly said he would be executed again 'once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough.

Alireza M is now reported to be in a 'satisfactory' condition in hospital, and a family member has reportedly said that the prisoner’s two daughters were “the happiest of all” that he is alive.

Alireza M was reportedly sentenced to death for drug trafficking by Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which tries drug offenders in Iran in proceedings that often fail to meet international fair trial standards. Already this year, Iran is believed to have executed at least 508 people, including 221 executions that have not been officially confirmed. The majority of those executed were convicted of drug offences.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Philip Luther said:

'Carrying out a second execution on a man who somehow managed to survive 12 minutes of hanging - who was certified as dead and whose body was about to be turned over to his family - is simply ghastly.

'It betrays a basic lack of humanity that sadly underpins much of Iran’s justice system.
'The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty.

'The Iranian authorities must immediately halt Alireza M’s execution and issue a moratorium on all others.

'It is natural that the Iranian authorities must combat the serious social, security and economic problems relating to drug trafficking and drug abuse, but the reliance on the death penalty to combat drug trafficking is misguided and in violation of international law.

'People want to be protected from crime, but the death penalty does not make societies safer.'

Even the Secretary General of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, expressed doubts in 2011 that the death penalty reduces crimes related to drug trafficking.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.

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