Amnesty International has urged Iran to stay the second attempt to execute a convicted drug dealer who survived a hanging.
The man, identified by Iranian media only as Alireza M., 37, was sentenced to death after he was convicted of possessing a kilogram of crystal meth.
He was hanged last week in the eastern city of Bojnord and taken down after 12 minutes, at which point he was declared dead by a doctor.
However, when his family came to collect his body from the city morgue, they found that he was breathing.
“We found him alive again, which made his two daughters very happy,” one member of his family told Iranian state media.
According to reports, when the authorities realized that the convicted man was still alive, they took him to a hospital, where he was being kept under guard and given time to convalesce ahead of his second hanging.
“The verdict was the death sentence, and it will be carried out once the man gets well again,” an Iranian official 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,” Amnesty International regional director Philip Luther said in a statement.
The international human rights group cited figures to the effect that Iran has executed 508 people so far in 2013, a majority of whom were condemned for drug-related offenses.
“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,” Luther said.