Iran carries out first public execution in two years: NGO
Iman Sabzikar, who had been convicted over the murder of a police officer in February 2022 in the southern city of Shiraz, was hanged in the early morning at the scene of the crime, Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights said.
It said that Iranian state media has reported on the public execution taking place and that the convict had been identified as Sabzikar, whose sentence of being hanged in public had been confirmed by the supreme court earlier this month.
1. #ImanSabzikar, a 28-year-old construction worker, was publicly executed for the murder of a police officer at the scene of the alleged crime in Shiraz this morning, just 6 months after arrest, making it the first public execution since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/VOROtRKEy9— Iran Human Rights (IHR NGO) (@IHRights) July 23, 2022
"The resumption of this brutal punishment in public is intended to scare and intimidate people from protesting," said IHR's director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
"We can raise the cost of carrying out such mediaeval practices by people protesting more against the death penalty - particularly public executions - and the international community taking a strong stance," he added.
Images circulating on social media claiming to be of the execution showed a man dressed in Iran's standard light blue and black striped prison clothes hanging several metres above the ground on a rope attached to a crane on a truck.
Executions in Iran usually take place within the walls of prison and activists say public executions are used as a deterrent, especially when the crime concerns the killing of a member of the security forces.
IHR said that the last recorded public execution was carried out on June 11, 2020. It added that four other men who were all also sentenced to death for the murder of police officers in separate but similar cases are currently at risk of the same fate.
In recent weeks, activists have expressed concern over a growing crackdown in Iran as the country sees unusual protests in the face of economic crisis.
Prominent film directors and other intellectuals have been arrested while IHR has said that the number of executions in 2022 doubled in the first half of the year compared with 2021.