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Hanging in Iran Print E-mail

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Not hanging around or hanging out, but actually being hanged...

Hanging is the most common form of execution in Iran. Group hangings are prefered in urban areas, where they can get the most visibility. Can you imagine being out on your lunch break one day, or commuting to work, or on your way to do shopping or anything, and passing by this scene? How would you feel? Imagine living in a culture where this is "normal"...

Too often I have marveled at the new uses Muslims find for the everyday technologies many of us use daily. Muslims turn passenger planes into flying suicide bombs, cell phones into remote controls for detonating bombs, and here, they use the simple construction crane as an execution device.

But why not use a gallows? The cranes have special advantages over a gallows or trap door drop, that many other countries use. A sudden drop like is used with a trap door, breaks the neck of the person being executed, and they loose consciousness immediately.

By using a crane, the loss of consciousness in avoided. The crane allows the person to be lifted up slowly, so they strangle as they dangle. The hands are tied behind their backs, but the feet are left free to kick, as the person slowly strangles and suffocates. The strangulation part takes about 3 minutes. The whole execution from beginning to end takes about 25 minutes.

This group was four men and one woman. I read that this young woman (age 23?) was lashed 80 times first.

Why were they being hanged? They were alleged to be drug traffickers. But do we know that for certain? There are many claims that dissidents are often falsely accused of crimes and executed, without a fair trial. What passes for a trial is sometimes nothing more than two minutes of questioning by a Mullah. No defense attorney, no jury.

I read that over the past several years, the amount of public hangings has been rising, and may even be in the hundreds per year. You can only wonder at how such spectacles affect people, the society as a whole.

Do they get used to it? Do they become desensitized? Here are pictures from another hanging of three men. Here are the onlookers:

It's quite a crowd. All men. What are they thinking?

Not everyone is so stoical. This guy seems upset:

Is he watching a friend or family member about to be hanged?

The other men are noosed...

And the deed is done...

One of the most notorious executions in Iran occurred in 2004, with the hanging of 16 year old Ateqeh Rajabi. She was hanged for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity".

The details of her personal story are tragic. She was abused by men from an early age, and had no one to defend her.

She had no defense attorney. In court she took off her headscarf and addressed the judge, hurling insults at him and telling him he should be DEFENDING her, not attacking her. This so infuriated the local judge, Haji Reza, that he personally saw to it that she received the death sentence.

I read that she publicly repented, crying for her life, right before being hanged; and that under Islamic law, her repentance should have led to a postponement of her execution and a reconsideration of her sentence. But the judge would have none of that. He personally placed the noose around her neck, and gave the order for the crane to be lifted.

After the execution, "judge" Reza boasted that the girl was not put to death for her crime, but for her "sharp tongue". The court published the girls age as 22, even though her birth certificate and her national I.D. card show that she was only 16. Her hanging has caused a shockwave in Iran, as almost no one believes she deserved the sentence she received.

The Mullah's are a law unto themselves. Can you imagine what whey would do with nuclear weapons?
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