Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Disturbing Video Of Public Iranian Execution Sparks Debate

An Iranian soldier prepares a noose ahead of  a public hanging. Will watching a video of such a hanging spur opposition to the practice, or just desensitize the viewer?
An Iranian soldier prepares a noose ahead of a public hanging. Will watching a video of such a hanging spur opposition to the practice, or just desensitize the viewer?

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By Golnaz Esfandiari
To share or not to share. That's the question being asked following the emergence of a video of a public hanging in Iran.

Those who have shared the disturbing video on social media argue that it sheds light on the cruel methods the Islamic establishment employs to mete out justice. Opponents, however, believe that sharing the video helps promote a culture of violence in Iran fueled by acts such as public executions.

The video, which was reportedly shot in late February in the city of Karaj, shows dozens of Iranians assembled to watch the hanging. Reports say the man who was hanged had been sentenced to death over the gang rape of a pregnant woman who lost her unborn child as a result.

With the help of the digital age, however, what started as a small audience of eyewitness has expanded to tens of thousands of viewers.

'My Child, My Child'

The video shows a man standing on a platform with his hands tied behind his back. He is surrounded by his hangmen. It's dark. A light is shining above the makeshift gallows. It almost looks like the stage of a dance show or a theater.

The man calls out for his mother. "Bring my mother, I want to see her," he shouts. "Will you let me see my mother?"

The executioners ignore his demand. A woman cries out: "My child, my child."

The man struggles with his executioners, kicking the bench where he is supposed to stand. He kicks a guard who attempts to help bring him under control. "Don't beat him, kill him," says one of the spectators.

Several other guards rush to the stage. More struggle ensues. The man is finally forced to stand on the bench, as a noose is placed around his neck. He is quickly hanged to chants of "Allah-hu Akbar" (God is great) by the crowd. His body is left suspended in the air.

'Can It Keep People From Going?'

The chilling video appeared on YouTube and social-networking sites last week. A man identified as Mohammad Reza Abbasian told the Balatarin website that a friend in Iran had sent him the footage. He said his friend received it on his phone via Bluetooth.

Abbasian says he decided to post the video on his Facebook page to deter Iranians from attending public hangings, which the authorities say help deter crime. "I wanted to show people that an individual who has been sentenced to death is being beaten up [before being hanged]. Look at the conditions in which he left this world," he says. "The painful nature of it pushed me to post it for people to see. I was [hoping] it would reach human rights activists and the video would become a symbol and that it would prevent people from going to watch executions."

Some have spoken out against the practice of sharing such videos. "What is the difference between those who attend public executions and those who share the video of these executions online?" a young man in Tehran asked on Facebook.

Roya Kashefi, the head of the human rights committee of the Paris-based Association of Iranian Researchers, agrees. She says those who watch such videos unwittingly do the state's bidding by helping it sow fear among the Iranian people. "I think when we are invited to watch videos like this, it's as if we have been invited to attend the actual execution itself," she adds. "That is something that I would not choose to do."

Desensitizing, Or Raising Awareness?

Kashefi doubts that the dissemination of such footage can help the cause of those fighting against the death penalty and public hangings in Iran. She says it has a desensitizing effect. "The fact that people think it's their right to sit and watch it because they're watching it behind their computer monitor is giving them immunity," she says. "It's as if they're safe, they're one step removed, which is very dangerous, especially if we're going to talk about the future and the consequences of watching a violent scene. Taking someone's life in any shape or form is a violent act."

Prominent U.S.-based Iranian sociologist Hossein Ghazian was among those who shared the video on Facebook, warning about its graphic content. Responding to criticism, he wrote on his page that he wasn't convinced that watching an execution leads to the promotion of violence and capital punishment. "I don't think anyone would accept the death penalty by watching this video. On the contrary, I think, most likely it would make one hate executions."

Ghazian added that his intention in sharing the video was to raise awareness about the rights of the accused, who some may write off as deserving whatever they get.

Last month, the United Nations human rights office warned about a spike in executions in Iran. The UN said 500 people were known to have been executed in Iran in 2013, including 57 in public.
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Comment Sorting
by: Christopher Hobe Morrison from: Lake Katrine, NY, USA
March 07, 2014 04:35
Before any Americans start getting excited about this, it was after a recent botched execution that an American politician denied that there was any such thing as the right to a pain-free execution so maybe Americans should not get self-righteous. An American would probably be first to yelp for the life of someone convicted of raping a woman and killing her child, especially an unborn child. Having said that, it is possible to look at conditions in the countries that carry out executions and draw conclusions about whether their moral conditions are elevated or lowered. Also it wouldn't do any good for me to describe what I think should be done to people who make such executions possible or carry them out.
In Response

by: nusapalajaya from: mary turkenistan
March 08, 2014 16:09
hanginjg is not the only one of pinalty in Islam law,
and hanging is not allow in Islam,

there are 3 alternative in solution the case
1, Qishos, it is mean the guilty could be done as what he did to the victim, in criminal, in porpose or by accidentially
2. Money for the victim
3. Full forgifness,,,, islam support to do the third choise

Iran is not the real Islam, Iran is a syiah, the name that never state in Islam syariah,,,,,,

by: lasifa from: czech rep.
March 08, 2014 21:45
Let me tell about one my experience I enjoyed during my travel to Iran. It was somewhere in the center of city of Shiraz when I met some local men who showed me similar video on cell phone. If I recognize well, for some of them it was kind of amusement. In contrast, one of this men told them not to show it to me, for not to be considered as barbarbarians. Therefore I think, that sharing these videos is very common matter in Iran. And: it says nothing about cruelty of iranian people neither it serves as some kind of prevention from visiting public executions.

by: Dorina Lisson from: Australia
March 10, 2014 16:40
Many executions in Iran are shrouded in secrecy – executions are intermittently reported by officials and generally ignored by the media. Human rights organizations report that hundreds have died hideously, this year alone, customarily executed in public to the sound of public cheers. Finding some strange pleasure in the public state killing of another human being can only be described as truly “feral”. The Human Rights Committee, established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has stated that public executions are incompatible with human dignity, which have a brutalising and dehumanising effects on society.

There are deep concerns at the continued imposition of corporal punishment such as human limb amputation or decapitation, floggings and torture. Punishments include chopping off the hand at the wrist for stealing, 40-80 lashes for drinking alcohol or gambling. Some condemned offenders are flogged in public prior to being executed.

A 16-year-old Iranian girl Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged by crane in public, in Northern Iran after being sentenced to death for allegedly having committed an ‘act incompatible with chastity’ (also known as pre-marital sex). Her much older male co-defendant was sentenced to 40 lashes and then released.

In Iran, speaking out for human rights and against the death penalty is considered criminal. Many human rights activists and journalists trying to report human rights abuses are incarcerated, tortured, killed or mysteriously dissapear. Nobody dares to appeal for clemency for the condemned. The few local human rights activists and family members struggling to save the lives of the condemned face harassment, intimidation, imprisonment and death threats.

by: naveen kumar from: india
March 12, 2014 04:01
This is so wrong, we are in 20th century and public executions are still happening. At least the man should have been allowed to meet his mother. Granting last wish is at least those guys could have done and people are always allowed to meet there family before execution.
They are hanging people in public so that others don't make same mistake how is that working? because Iran still execute so many people every year and wats the point if your people are going to live in fear.

by: W from: A
March 15, 2014 23:50
This is very bad!

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