Man Who Survived Execution To Be Hanged Again
It was just like FELA said (DOUBLE WAHALA FOR DEAD BODY) when Alireza, a 37-year-old man jailed for smuggling drugs and sentenced to death in Iran, woke up to what was supposed to be his last day alive.
Outside his cell in Bojnurd prison, in Iran’s northern Khorasan province, the gallows were waiting and the countdown had already begun.
Just before sunrise, the guards hooked ropes around his neck and hanged him for possessing a kilo of crystal meth. Exactly 12 minutes later medics pronounced him dead and sent his body for burial.
But in the morgue the next day, something unusual caught the eyes of a worker who was preparing the corpse for family collection: steam in the plastic cover he was wrapped in. He was still alive.
Now, to the dismay of his family, Iranian judicial authorities are waiting for him to make a full recovery before they hang him again, according to the state-run Jam-e-Jam newspaper, which was first to break the news of Alireza’s ordeal.
Iran’s judiciary has argued that he was sentenced to death, rather than to hanging, and should be re-executed. But human rights activists, already concerned about Iran’s high rate of executions, say he should be spared.
A nurse told Jam-e-Jam that Alireza’s general health was satisfactory and he was making progress day by day. “We couldn’t believe he was still alive when we went to collect his body,” a relative told the Iranian newspaper. “More than anyone, his two daughters are very happy.”
Mohmmad Erfan, a judge with Iran’s administrative justice court, told Jam-e-Jam: “The sentence issued by the revolutionary court is the death penalty in such circumstances it should be repeated once again.”
Alireza, whose surname has not been published by the Iranian media to protect his identity, was arrested three years ago for carrying and possessing Shisheh, an Iranian nickname for methamphetamine in the form of crystal, which among many other drugs such as opium is relatively cheap to buy in the Islamic republic. A revolutionary court found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
Under Iranian law, convicts should be conscious and relatively healthy before execution – hanging is delayed for people who are pregnant or in a coma.
When someone is sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, for instance in adultery cases, if they manage to climb out of the ground after being buried up to the neck or somehow survive the ordeal, their life is spared.
As a neighbour of Afghanistan, a leading producer and supplier of the world’s drugs, Iran has high rates of drug use, especially among its huge number of young people.