Capital punishment in Iran

Capital punishment in Iran
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Capital punishment is legal and applied in Iran.[1] In theory the possibility of capital punishment applies for the following crimes: murder, rape, adultery, pedophilia, sodomy, drug trafficking, moharebeh (waging war on people or God) and mofsed-e-filarz (spreading corruption on earth).[2] Various sources claim that up to 312 people were executed in Iran in 2010, the commonly accepted number being around 180.[3] The overwhelming majority were drug traffickers, and virtually all executions are carried out for murder, aggravated rape, large scale drug trafficking, treason, and armed robbery (cases usually resulting in rape/death).

Iran has garnered Western media attention and criticism for allegedly carrying out lethal punishments, like stoning,[4] and executions of minors, despite having signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which forbids executing "child" offenders for crimes committed under the age of 18.[5][6][7][8] However, Iran claims dispensation in cases where the Convention is deemed "incompatible with Islamic jurisprudence".[9] An Iranian judiciary spokesman fiercely denied that it executes juvenile criminals or stones people to death, describing it as "propaganda against Iranian state ".[10] Iran is alleged to have the second highest execution rate in the world, second to China, although other countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and many more allegedly carry out secret executions.[11][12]

Executions of women in Iran happen less often. Four women were executed in Iran in 2010.[13][14]

Death sentences in Iran are in theory legal for eight different crimes: armed robbery, treason, murder, drug trafficking, rape, pedophilia, sodomy,[15] kidnapping and terrorism.[16]


Capital crimes

Death sentences in Iran are in theory legal for eight different crimes: armed robbery, treason, murder, drug trafficking, rape, pedophilia, sodomy,[15] kidnapping and terrorism.[16] The overwhelming majority of executions were for murder, large scale drug trafficking, and aggravated rape in 2011. A few were also carried out for armed robbery, and treason/terrorism.[citation needed] Those crimes are fit under sharia definitions (see list of crimes).

There are four classes of crimes in Iranian law: "qesas" crimes, "hadd" crimes, "tazir" crimes, and deterrent crimes.

Court System

In Iran, sharia law is the source of legislation. There are three types of criminal courts. First-instance criminal courts try serious offenses, such as murder, rape and theft. These courts can issue death sentences. Second-instance criminal courts try lighter offenses. The Islamic Revolutionary Courts try offenses aimed against state institutions and the government. Crimes include smuggling (of drugs/weapons/etc), terrorism, counterfeiting, treason, etc. They may also issue death sentences.

There is a first instance criminal court branch in most counties in Iran, and the prisoner tend to be put to death in the county prison. There is usually one Revolutionary Court branch in each province, so criminals such as drug traffickers tend to be put to death in the main prison of the provincial capital. For that reason, murderers tend to be executed as individuals in various prisons, while drug traffickers are often executed in groups in centralized prisons.

A death sentence would be appealed to the Supreme Court of Iran, and confirmed by them, or sent to a lower court for retrial. In 2011, an amendment to Iran's "Dangerous Drugs Act" removed the right of appeal for some drug trafficking cases, instead the Prosecutor-General must review and confirm the sentence. The official reason was that due to the large volume of drug cases, it was slowing down the appeals court system. The prisoner can then ask for a pardon from the victim's family in a murder case, or from the "Amnesty and Pardons Commission" in non-murder cases.

Typically, due to appeals, most cases take an average of 2-7 years, although some may take more or less time. Other times, the authorities may delay the execution until the completion of a prison sentence. Politically sensitive cases are much quicker.

Interestingly, in Iran (like other Muslim countries), there are two types of sentences resulting in death. The first is a "qesas-e-nafs" sentence, meaning "retribution", when the murder victim's family refuses to forgive a murderer (see qesas crimes below). The other type is a regular death sentence "hokm-e-edam", for crimes such as rape and drug trafficking. These sentences are completely separate in Iranian law, and this has created some confusion in news sources, when authorities say that a murder will not result in "execution", but in "qesas".

Offenders under age of 18

An issue among human rights groups and Western media has been the execution of criminals under the age of 18 years in Iran.[17] Despite signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, human rights groups claim Iran to be the world's biggest executioner of convicts under the age of 18. This has been ascribed to the difference in definition of a "minor" between non-Muslim and at least some Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan. Article 49 of the Islamic Penal Code in Iran "defines a child as someone who has not reached the age of puberty (bulugh) as stipulated by Islamic law and as specified in the 1991 Civil Code as 15 years for boys and 9 years for girls (but for the sake of uniformity the law treats one as an adult at age 15 prior to 2007, after 2007 at the age of 18) ."[17][18][19]

Between 1979 and 2007, the legal age in Iran was 15 years, and those 15 or older could vote, and also receive the death penalty. It was raised to 18 in 2007. Iran's Supreme Court since 1995 has commuted non-murder death sentences to of 2-8 years imprisonment, although there have been a few notable cases where that did not happen (see child rapists Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari). Juvenile murderers cannot be receive "qesas" before the age of 18 (see diyya and qisas below) if their victim's families do not forgive them, and judges would try to persuade the families to forgive the murderer.

In 2008, Iran passed the Decriminalization Bill. Among the provisions of the bill was that nobody under the age of 18 could be executed for crimes other than murder (see qesas below). Juveniles aged above 15 could receive the death penalty if they committed murder, if the judge believed they were not mentally retarded and mature enough to have committed the murder with "malice and forethought" and if the victim's families did not forgive them.[20][21] It also stated murderers of any age who are mentally retarded or compromised at the time of the crime at any age could not be sentenced to death (although they are still subject to diyyeh, see below). This coincided with Iran raising the voting/legal age from 15 to 18 in 2007 and cemented Iran's juvenile executions ban.

Although Iran is the focus of juvenile executions, other countries, like Sudan and Saudi Arabia legally carry them out, and some, like China, Nigeria and Pakistan, allegedly carry them out illegally, with little to no rebuke from international organizations.[11] Some U.S. states (thought not the federal government) carried out juvenile executions until 2005 (see Roper v. Simmons).

Qesas Crimes (murder)

In Sharia law, a Qisas crime is a class of crime that receives retribution. It is prosecuted under Iran's Qesas Laws. Intentional murder (ghatl-e-amnd) is the only qesas crime resulting in death. Diyyeh and qesas is a private settlement claim between the victim's family and the perpetrator. The state simply convicts the perpetrator, which is different from the United States, where the state/federal government also will punish the criminal. Qisas crimes call for retribution, a "life for a life" (execution) in the case of a murder, unless the victim's family forgives the criminal by accepting Diyya, which is a blood money settlement, to compensate the loss of life. If the family refuses to accept blood money, they thus allow murderer will receive qesas, meaning they will receive retribution (qesas-e-nafs) to absolve the loss of intentional loss of life, meaning they will die. Only the forgiveness of the family can stop an execution for murder, the state may not commute a qesas-e-nafs sentence. Only the conviction can be appealed, not the sentence, except in cases where the person is deemed mentally retarded or at a young age (see Decriminalization Act above). Judges may only recommend the course of action the family takes, and usually try to get the family to give mercy to the murderer. It is not known what percent of families forgive the murderer(s), but it is probable that the majority of them do so. If the criminal is forgiven, the murder charges are annulled, depending on the circumstances and prior convictions, he/she can receives a "tazir" prison sentence (discretionary sentence-see below). For example, 10–20 years imprisonment, depending on prior records, assault and battery, hooliganism (sherarat), disturbance of public order, and such.

The judge may influence the family's decision, and there have been some cases where the family was pressured to make one decision or another.

If the family demands retribution, they cannot receive compensation (blood money), and vice versa. Blood money tables are set every year by Iran's government. Blood money is also doubled if the murder is committed during holy months of Ramadan and Muharram, since they are seen as twice as bad. Women officially receive one-half the amount of blood money men do in murder cases (Women receive equal amounts of diyya in accidental death cases),[22] however in practice, judges usually would award women equal amounts of blood money, since the law is very flexible.

Hadd crimes

  • Since Sharia law is subject to several interpretations, the hudud (hadd) crimes are not necessarily the same in different countries, and may differ in countries such as Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

A hadd (or hudud) crime is a class of crime laid down in the Koran, similar to a felony. Such crimes are also tried under Iran's Hadd Laws, and their punishments were laid down in the Koran and Hadith. Hadd crimes can be proven by a confession, or two witnesses (four witnesses to adultery), or by "judge's knowlege" (where it is so obvious that the person is guilty based on evidence that the judge finds the person guilty). They are generally applied for the worst of worst crimes, which fit the high proof requirements, and are punishable by death/imprisonment/whipping depending on the crime. If the prosecution cannot provide the proof requirements for a hudud crime, it could be punished as a lesser tazir crime.

Moharebeh (waging war on God/people) and mofsed-e-filarz (spreading corruption on earth) is considered to be a crime in which a weapon was used with violence to "create fear or disruption against national security and citizens." It is punishable by death in serious cases, such as if people were killed/raped, repeat armed robbery, or acts against the state. It has been used as a politically-related charge also, in crimes such as espionage and treason. It is usually used in terrorist related cases too. The death sentence is legal for transfer of "offensive" material like pornography (but it has not been applied as of May 2011), and for "economic crimes against the state" (two people executed). It can also be punished by imprisonment.

Adultery/sex crimes (zina):

  • Adultery (zina-e-mohsen) is punishable by 100 lashes for unmarried people, It is punishable by death by stoning (or hanging) for married people, or for incest. If a unmarried non-Muslim male had sexual relations with a Muslim female, the non-Muslim male would be put to death. Four witnessess (rather than two witnesses) must prove adultery, or the person must confess four times, or by judge's knowledge. If the person confesses twice and are "repentent", the judge can either sentence them to 100 lashes or death.
  • Rape (zina-be-onf) has same requirements as adultery, but the only penalty is death by hanging. In cases where it does not meet the proof requirements, or a lesser case, it would be punished as a tazir crime (such as "sexual assault" or "indecency"). If a weapon was used, the person could possibly be punished for "moharebeh", and given execution or a long prison sentence. The rapist must pay compensation to his victim, often in exchange for waiving the death sentence, and they can recieve lashes as well.

Sodomy (lavat) is punishable by death. The judge will determine what type of death (in practice usually hanging). The proof requirements are the same as for "zina", and such sentences are very rare.

  • Sodomy rape (lavat-be-onf) is sodomy rape, and is punishable by death for the rapist. Proof requirements are the same, most lavat executions are for rape.

Apostasy (murrtaad) is not in the penal code a capital crime (or even any crime) in Iran, however, in some serious cases (or political related cases), since the judge is the one who interprets Sharia law, the apostate may still prosecuted for it anyway. and the death sentence could be given, the last such execution was in 1990.

Blasphemy (sabb-al-nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter, and his family is a legal charge in Iran, and if somebody is found guilty of that, by default, they could also be found guilty of apostasy. It is punishable by death/imprisonment.

For all other hadd crimes, the fourth offense would be a capital offense.

All hadd crimes are (zina): rape, adultery, incest; sodomy (lavat), theft (serghat-e-haddi), apostasy, lesbianism (mosahegheh), false accusation of sex crimes (ghazf), pimping (ghavvadi), drunkenness (maasti), and moharebeh (waging war on God)/mofsed-e-filarz (spreading corruption on earth). For all but the most serious cases the crime is punished through the tazir code and given a discretionary sentence.

In July 2005 the Iranian Student News Agency covered the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in Mashhad for "lavat be onf" (sodomy rape) of a 13-year-old boy, which drew international attention when disturbing photos of the hanging were widely distributed around the Internet.[23] The executions of the two teenagers divided the human rights community over whether it was a gay issue; all human rights groups condemned the hangings as they were for crimes allegedly committed when the boys were minors.[24] The initial report from the Iranian Student News Agency, a government press agency, had stated that they were hanged for sodomizing and raping a 13-year-old boy (his father was interviewed about the case in the local Mashad newspaper). Internet gay advocacy groups such as OutRage! asserted that they were hanged for being homosexuals; other groups, in light of evidence that the teenagers were convicted of rape, emphasized that the executions were a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Iran is a signatory to both), which prohibit the execution of minors.[24] After the international outcry, the Iranian government stated once again the hangings were for raping the boy. Human Rights Watch, while not agreeing with the brutality of the hangings, stated it was "deeply disturbed about the apparent indifference of many people to the alleged rape of a 13-year-old". Under a change in Iranian laws since then, these two boys would not have been executed if their crime had occurred today, since only murderers can be executed if under 18.

Iran hangs man who claimed to be God: report, (AFP) – Jan 31, 2011</ref>

Tazir/Deterrent crimes

In Islamic criminal jurisprudence, a tazir crime is a crime that receives a discretionary punishment by a judge. A "deterrent crime" is a crime with a fixed sentence. A tazir crime is similar to a misdemeanor, a "deterrent" crime is equal to a second degree felony, and fixed by the laws of the state. The only exception is drug trafficking, as there is no official hudud penalty for drug crimes, it is punished by death as a tazir/deterrent crime.

Crimes against national security are crimes that are "treason-related/compromising national security". They may punished as moharebeh/mofsed-e-filarz in serious cases (see above).

Arms smuggling can be considered to be "moharebeh" and punishable by death if: 1)Smuggling heavy weapons (such as bombs/artillery) or radioactive weapons 2)Armed resistance to police/armed criminal acts while smuggling weapons, or if the weapons were intended for terrorist/anti-government groups.

Human trafficking is punishable by death as "moharebeh" if the person was under 18 years of age, or if rape/murder/financial exploitation occurred. Operation of prositution rings is also punishable by death of "mofsed-e-filarz" and "moharebeh".

Large scale fraud or counterfeiting if enough to disrupt the "financial stability of the Islamic Republic", or "intentionally aimed at undermining the government" is punishable by death as "mofsed-e-filarz".

According to Iran's Anti-Narcotics Law, possession of narcotics is punishable by death if:

1)Possession of over 30 grams (1.1 ounce) of heroin/morphine/cocaine/LSD/methamphetamine, and such drugs. The death sentence could be waived if it was the criminal's first such offense where the sale was not accomplished and/or the amount was less than 100 grams (3.5ounce), or the fourth offense where collective amount was 30-100 grams.

2)Possession of over 5000 grams/5 kilograms (11.02 lbs) of opium/hasish/cannabis (could be waived if was first offense and sale was not accomplished and amount less than 20 kilograms) (44.1 lbs); or third conviction of 5–20 kg of such drugs.

3)Third conviction of possession of more than 5 kilograms of prescription/industrial drugs for illegal use, or repeat conviction of 5-20 kilograms of such drugs.

4)Fourth conviction of growing opium poppies for drug use, or for growing cannabis.

5)Armed smuggling of any illegal narcotics, if armed crimes committed while possessing drugs, or if the person was a member or head of a narcotics trafficking gang.

Drug crimes/smuggling and crimes against the stability of the country are tried in the Revolutionary Court system, a special court that handles such cases relating to national security. In 2011, the right of appeal was revoked for certain drug crimes, instead the case would be reviewed by the Prosecutor-General.

Iran is currently fighting a major drug war on its provinces in the east, primarily Sistan and Baluchistan province and parts of Khorasan province. Since Iran borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two largest opium-producing countries in the world, Iran is a major trafficking route to Europe and the west. Since 2000, up to 2,000 Iranian soldiers have died fighting armed drug cartels and smugglers. Most of Iran's executions are related to drug trafficking, a recent announcement by the judiciary said that 74 percent of executions in Iran were drug related.[citation needed].


Firing squad

The firing squad is legal, but seldom used in Iran today, but was used historically for military and political crimes. In 1974, under the Shah's regime, Marxist activists Khosrow Golesorkhi and Keramat Daneshian were executed by firing squad on charges of conspiring to kidnap Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of Iran. They were shot after a televised trial in Tehran. This case was one of the big events that turned the opinion of the public against the Shah. During the reign of the shah, 1,000 or more people were sentenced to death for crimes against the government, mostly by firing squad after conviction by a special SAVAK military tribunal. After the 1953 coup, scores of Communists were executed. Also, many known people and dissidents had also died under suspicious cirumstances, and were possibly murdered by SAVAK (such as wrestler Gholam-Reza Takhti, Dr. Ali Shariati, and Ayatollah Khomeini's brother Mostapha Khomeini).

In the years after the Islamic Revolution, hundreds, if not thousands of people werefor all crimes, many for "drug trafficking" shot for crimes against the Islamic Republic by the newly established Revolutionary Courts, including many of the Shah's former ministers, such as former Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveida, head of SAVAK General Nematollah Nassiri, and others. By 1980, almost 700 people had been shot. A campaign on drug trafficking resulted in the executions of many for drug possession, including addicts. Some were alleged to be regime opponents as well. In 1979-1980, there was a revolt in Kurdistan, and many executions also took place there too.

While executions had dropped by 1980, after the start of the Iran-Iraq War, a crackdown on dissidents and common criminals caused executions to increase, and in 1981-1984, in a near civil war between the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq organization, coupled with the assassination of many government officials, prompted a massive crackdown against sympathizers to the organization, dissidents, or even innocent people. Possibly 8,000 were shot for political reasons then, and the true numbers may be higher. Many others were hanged (or sometimes shot) for other crimes, such as adultery, robbery, and drug trafficking.

In 1982, a purge of the communists in Iran (such as the Tudeh Party) resulted in the executions of the party's leaders and other members as well. Political executions continued on a lesser scale, but in 1988, after a invasion by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq organization (see Operation Mersad), almost 2,000-6,000 executions were carried out for terrorism/treason (moharebeh), along with many other political prisoners who were deemed "dangerous" (like communists). Since then, political executions have been relatively rare, although extrajudicial killing of high profile regime opponents still happened as late as 1998. (Chain Murders in Iran). There have been a few questionable deaths/executions even recently. Since the late 1980s virtually all executions have been carried out by hanging.

Critics of the Revolutionary Courts complained about the process, stating that the trials lacked defense attorneys, were too short (often lasting hours, even minutes), and could not be appealed, there was often a lack of evidence and convictions were often based on strong rumors. They also complained that the judges were biased, unfair, and were too rigid, and used the death sentence much too often, and that some of the prisoners did not deserve to be executed (or even arrested). Also, some confessions were gained by torturing the defendants. To make matters worse, when asked what if somebody was wrongfully executed, one of the judges said that an innocent person "Would receive a reward by God in heaven", so little care was taken to see if the accused were actually guilty of the crimes they were accused of.

Ayatollah Khomeini himself was sentenced to death by firing squad for treason against the Shah in 1964 by a military court, but his sentence was commuted to exile in Iraq (General Hassan Pakravan, another head of SAVAK, who helped commute Khomeini's sentence, was one of the first shot upon Khomeini's return). In 1980 Jahangir Razmi won the Pulitzer Prize for his famous photo Firing Squad in Iran" which showed seven Kurds and two Shah's policemen being executed minutes after being convicted for "terrorism and crimes against God" by a Revolutionary Court judge in the airport in Sanandaj, during a revolt by Kurdish armed groups. Their trial lasted 30 minutes.

One of the most famous "hanging" judges in Iran was a cleric, Sadegh Khalkhali, the first head of the Revolutionary Court, who sentenced drug traffickers and former members of the Shah's government alike to be shot. Incidentally, he was the same judge who convicted the men in Razmi's photo minutes before it was taken. He personally sentenced 800-2,000 people to death.

After many years of not being used, the firing squad was last used in 2008, to execute a man convicted of raping 17 little girls, according to the Fars News Agency.[25] It is not known why this method was used rather than hanging.


Iran is said to be the first country in the world to adopt hanging, 2,500 years ago. Hanging is virtually the sole method of execution in 21st-century Iran; the execution is generally carried out in prison, with the prisoner(s) hanged from shoulder-high stools, or shoulder-high wheeled platforms that can hold up to 5-8 prisoners at once. In public, executions are usually carried out by a mobile crane, suspending the criminal high in the air, or on a mobile gallows.[26] Iranian nooses are thick and have 7–10 knotted coils and are often made of blue plastic rope, and little to no drop is given. Death is caused by strangulation and carotid reflex (where blood vessels to the head are cut off), taking 10–20 minutes. However, in most executions, the condemned falls unconscious quickly, or if not, the executions pull down on the body to speed up death.

Famous hangings in Iran throughout the ages were Haman from the Bible, Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri in 1908, serial killer Mohammed Bijeh, the "Desert Vampire" who raped and murdered 17 boys in 2005, and many more. At dawn on July 27, 2007, 29 men were hanged in Evin Prison on various charges of murder and drug trafficking. In 2010, Shahla Jahed was hanged in Tehran for the 2002 murder of the wife of Iran footballer Nasser Mohammadkhani. In 2009, an execution of two men in Sirjan for armed robbery was broken up when relatives stormed the gallows and cut the men down while still alive; they were later recaptured and hanged until dead. A video of the incident was posted on the Internet[citation needed].


Stoning to death for adultery was added to the Islamic Penal Code in 1983. In 1986, Soraya Manutchehri was stoned to death in Kuhpayeh after being allegedly convicted of adultery, leading to a 1990 novel, La Femme Lapidée, by Freidoune Sahebjam and a 2008 film based on the novel, The Stoning of Soraya M..[27]

A moratorium was placed on stoning due to adultery in 2002. Stoning is legal for "zina" (sex crimes), which constitutes adultery (zina-e-mohsen). Many Muslim jurists in Iran are of the opinion that although stoning can be considered Islamic, the criteria under which it can be imposed as a sentence are stringent; because of the large burden of proof needed to reach a guilty sentence of adultery; the penalty is hardly ever applicable. The person could also be sentenced to be hanged rather than stoned.

Following vociferous domestic and international controversy and outcry over stoning in the early years of the Islamic republic, the government placed a moratorium on stoning in 2002.[28] In January 2005, the Iranian judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad was quoted as saying, "Stoning has been dropped from the penal code for a long time, and in the Islamic republic, we do not see such punishments being carried out", further adding that if stoning sentences were passed by lower courts, they were over-ruled by higher courts and "no such verdicts have been carried out." [29] In 2007 and 2009, the moratorium was broken in two cases for men being stoned for murder and adultery, after Karimirad's report took place.[30][31]

In 2008 Iran's judiciary scrapped stoning in draft legislation submitted to parliament for approval.[29][32] As of June 2009, Iran's parliament has been reviewing and revising the Islamic penal code to omit stoning.[33]

Sakineh Ashtiani was sentenced to death for murder and adultery. After international outcry, she was given a stay of execution. Her case is in a legal limbo as of November 2010. Isa Taheri, the man who she was a co-conspirator with (and one of the men she committed adultery with) was given 10 years imprisonment for murder after paying diyya to the family.[citation needed]

Two men, aged 20 and 21, were condemned to be stoned for sodomy in January 2011 following evidence on their mobile phones of them having sex with a 17-year-old. It was reported that the youth was raped, amid claims he was pressured by police to give evidence in exchange for his life. Date of execution was set for 21 January 2011.[34][35]

Typical execution

In prison

In Iran, executions take place in the main prison of the county the crime took place, or in some cases, the provincial prison It is after their appeal/pardon was rejected, and after they completed any outstanding prison terms. Criminals from Tehran are hanged in Ghezelhesar Prison, or Evin Prison. In the Karaj area, Gohardasht Prison carries out executions. Tehran's Qasr Prison also conducted executions until it closed in 2005. The gallows are typically located in a special execution chamber or in a remote courtyard. Two days prior to the execution, the prisoner is informed of his execution date, and moved to a solitary confinement cell. In murder (or rape), both the victim's and prisoner's family are required to be there by law, in order to keep the possibility of an forgiveness settlement open (diyyeh). In non-murder executions, often the prisoner's family is informed after the fact.

The executions are carried out at 4:00 AM local time, just before the call for morning salah (prayer). When the platform is moved away, the condemned dies of strangulation and loss of blood to the brain. Usually they fall unconscious within seconds. If the condemned struggles after being released, the prison guards will typically pull down on the rope to speed up the death.

In the case of a murder, the victim's next of kin is sometimes allowed to pull the stool out from the condemned. There have been occasions where the victim's family pardoned the murderer right at the foot of the gallows. A few times, the person was pardoned and cut down from the gallows after he was hanging, and lived.

In public

Public executions in Iran are normally applied to those found guilty of crimes such as gang rape, murder during an armed robbery, or brutal murders. Public executions were restricted in most cases by Reza Shah in the late 1920s, but became common after the Islamic Revolution, usually carried out from mobile cranes.[36] They take place when the prosecutor requests and the judge accepts that since the criminal's crimes were so terrible they "caused public outrage", he/she must die at the spot that the crime was committed. The Supreme Court must also approve the sentence. Public executions probably accounted for 19 of all the executions in Iran in 2010.[citation needed], in 2011, it accounted for 5-8% of all executions. In 2002, the "Black Vultures", the nickname of a group of 5 men who assaulted and gang raped dozens of women in northern Tehran were hanged in public from cranes, 2 in the main bus terminal, and 3 in the main square of Lavizan district.[37] On August 2, 2007, Maijid and Hossein Kavousifar were hanged in downtown Tehran for murdering a judge, and shooting and killing two innocent bystanders during an earlier bank robbery.[38] Majid was unrepentant of his crime and laughed into cameras before he was hanged. They were executed at the intersection that they murdered Judge Hassan Moghhadas in. A video of him and other criminals describing their crimes was also posted on YouTube. On January 5, 2011, a man only identified by Iranian media as "Yaghub" was hanged in the main square of the Sa'adat Abad district in Tehran, where he had in October 2010 murdered a man by repeatedly stabbing him, and while the man bled to death, "Yaghub" stood over the victim threatening to kill anyone who intervened. The murder was recorded on a mobile phone.[39] [40]

See also


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  3. ^ "Annual Report of the Death Penalty in Iran in 2010" Iran Human Rights. 12 Feb 2011. Last accessed 19 Feb 2011.
  4. ^ "Man Stoned To Death In Iran For Adultery". Reuters. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Status of Ratifications of the Principal International Human Rights TreatiesPDF (106 KB)", Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 9 June 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
  6. ^ "Iran 'must stop youth executions'", BBC News, 28 July 2005. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
  7. ^ "Death penalty in Iran 'vice' case", BBC News, 22 December. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
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  10. ^ BBC: Iran denies execution by stoning
  11. ^ a b Adetunji, Jo (21 October 2008). "Nigerian death row prisoners forced to clean gallows, says Amnesty". The Guardian (London). 
  12. ^ "Secrets of Iraq's death chamber". The Independent (London). 7 October 2008. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Wilets, James D (March 1997). "Conceptualizing private violence against sexual minorities as gendered violence: an international and comparative law perspective. Read more:". Albany Law Review 60 (3): 989–1050. 
  16. ^ a b International Federation for Human Rights. "IRAN/Death Penalty: A state terror policy". International Federation for Human Rights. pp. 8–16. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
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