Iran Botches Man's Hanging, Plans a Do-Over
If at first you don't succeed...
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2013 8:54 AM CDT
A man is hanged in Qazvin, Iran, in this Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, file photo.   (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Erfan Dadkhah)
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(Newser) – On the laundry list of public despair over government's inability to do anything right, "executing criminals" doesn't usually get a mention—particularly in Iran, which is more than a little practiced at capital punishment. But the Guardian presents the case of Alireza, a 37-year-old drug smuggler sentenced to death for having been found in possession of a kilo of meth. Earlier this month, Iranian officials strung him up, hanged him for 12 minutes, cut him down, pronounced him dead, and sent the body off to be buried. Except morgue workers the next day noticed steam in the plastic in which he was wrapped ... and the state found itself resuscitating and hospitalizing the guy it had failed to properly kill.

"We couldn't believe he was still alive when we went to collect his body," a relative says, adding that "his two daughters are very happy." Only now Iranian judges want to hang him again—as soon as he's fully recovered—saying that they in fact sentenced him to death, not hanging, so his sentence hasn't been carried out. Amnesty International is predictably appalled, saying that "carrying it out twice" is "simply ghastly" and "betrays a basic lack of humanity," and, anyway, "the death penalty is not working in the fight against drug trafficking." Iran is thought to have executed (successfully) 508 people so far this year, adds the Telegraph; that's a number that hasn't exactly slowed since Hasan Rouhani's election, with 125 of those coming since he took office in August. Most executions are for drug-related offenses.