IRAN – Earlier this month, Alireza, a 37-year-old man sentenced to death for drug smuggling was hanged in Bojnurd prison in Iran’s northern Khorasan province. 12 minutes later he was pronounced dead and his body was sent for burial. That’s just where the story begins.
The following day, the worker preparing his corpse for family collection, noticed steam in the plastic cover in which Alireza was wrapped. He was alive. He was immediately taken to Bojnurd’s Imam Ali hospital.
The state-run Jam-e-Jam newspaper reported that Iranian judicial officials will wait until the man makes a full recovery and they will hang him again.
Mohammad 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.”
A nurse reported that Alireza’s general health was satisfactory and he was making progress day by day.
The decision to re-hang Alireza has Human Rights organizations weighing in. Amnesty International’s Drewery Dyke told the Guardian, “Carrying it out twice on man who somehow managed to survive 12 minutes of hanging, who was certified as dead and whose body was turned over to his family is simply ghastly. It betrays a basic lack of humanity that sadly underpins much of Iran’s justice system.”
Iran has a very high rate of drug use, particularly among young people. Iranian authorities, with financial aid from Europe, have launched a campaign to crack down on drug smuggling, a campaign which has led to a much higher rate of executions.
In the meantime, Alireza’s relatives are enjoying his stay, even if temporary.
“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.”