A scuffle that broke out during the attempted public hanging of two robbers in southwest Iran led to two being shot dead, dozens injured, and the escape, albeit short-lived, of the convicts. Please be aware that there are graphic images included in this post.

One of our Observers in Iran, Omid Habibinia, passed this story on to us.

When the Sirjan town authorities tried to hang two men convicted of robbery on the morning of Dec. 22, protestors threw stones at the police and members of the court carrying out the execution. According to the semi-official Fars news agency, the protestors also shot at officers with handguns.

Amidst the chaos, the protestors managed to cut down the convicts, who were still alive a minute after the attempted hanging (seen at 00'30 - 00'50 in the following video).

The police responded by opening fire on the protestors (seen after 01'05). Two of the convicts' family members were killed in the fray with over 20 people also reportedly injured.

The foiled hanging and ensuing violence

PLEASE BE AWARE - GRAPHIC IMAGES

Video posted by “The Bistoon” Dec. 26, 2009.

The convicts were soon tracked down by the police after fleeing Sirjan by car with the help of family members. They were then brought back to the execution platform and a second hanging began in the afternoon.

This time however, the protestors set the platform alight, once again preventing the execution of the convicts.

Video posted by "IranPressNewsTube" Dec. 23 2009.

The men did not manage to escape a second time however, and were detained by police until the next morning, when they were hanged behind closed doors.