The man who survived a hanging in Iran should not face capital punishment again, a senior minister has said.
The man, identified by Iranian state media as Alireza M, was hanged for 12 minutes, but, despite doctors signing his death certificate, he was later found alive in a morgue.
Iran had insisted a second attempt would be made.
But now Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi has said moves to execute him again would be ill-advised.
Pourmohammadi, according to state news agency IRNA, said: “The convicted individual who remained alive after execution is currently under an oxygen device, and if he remains alive, it is no longer expedient for the execution order to be carried out again.”
But under the constitution, Iran’s judiciary sentences criminals and confirms their punishment, not government ministers.
The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said: “One of the ways to deal with someone sentenced to execution who has seen death and tolerated hardships is a pardon, and such an individual who has specific conditions can be granted mercy and forgiveness by the Islamic system, and I … will definitely do this.”
Yet Larijani said there were also legal grounds in favour of carrying out the death sentence again.
Amnesty International has called for Iran to halt the second execution.
New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, has sought to project a friendlier image to the West than his predecessor, the hardline conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran released prominent political prisoners, including human-rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, in September to wide global praise.
Iran carries out almost the highest number of executions of any country in the world, and rights groups have criticised the country for its use of the death penalty to dispense justice, especially for drug-related cases.
Amnesty said this month that Iran is believed to have executed at least 508 people in 2013, though 221 of them have not been officially confirmed.