Amnesty International has urged Iran to halt a “ghastly” second execution after the first attempt was botched.
The man, identified by Iranian state media as Alireza M, was found guilty of drug offences and ‘put to death’ in prison last Wednesday. After the hanging, which lasted around 12 minutes, the man was confirmed dead by a doctor and his death certificate was signed.
However, the following day staff working in the morgue found that Alireza was still breathing and rushed him to hospital.
Amnesty’s Philip Luther called on Iran to “immediately halt” the second execution.
But an official told the BBC: “The verdict was the death sentence, and it will be carried out once the man gets well again.”
It is understood the man is being nursed back to recovery in preparation for a fresh execution.
Alireza’s family found out about his survival when they came to collect his body for the funeral. A family friend is reported to have said: “We couldn’t believe that he is alive again, his two daughters are very happy right now”.
That happiness may be brief because when officials learned that Alireza had been found alive they put him under armed guard in hospital, ready for a second execution. A judge in the administrative court told state media: “The man has been sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court and his death sentence will be carried out once the medical staff confirms that his health condition is good enough”.
Iran has executed an estimated 560 people this year, including around 200 since President Hassan Rouhani came to power in June.
Luther, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme, said: “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.”
“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.”
A spokesperson from Iran Human Rights (IHR) said: “We ask the international community to do what they can to save the prisoner’s life. Mr. Alireza M. has once been through the torture and dehumanising process of being executed and the world must not let it happen again”.
The discovery of Alireza’s bungled execution was made on October 10, coinciding with World Day Against the Death Penalty.