Video shows crowd siding with criminal in Iran public execution

 A video has emerged of a man making a last-ditch effort to flee his public execution in Iran, raising questions over the government's regular use of this punishment.



A video has emerged of a man making a last-ditch attempt to flee his public execution in Iran, while onlookers cheer him on.


In the video below, the young man is about to be hanged in front of a large crowd that has gathered to watch the execution. He was condemned for having gang-raped a pregnant woman along with two other men back in 2008. As a result, the woman reportedly miscarried and lost her baby. The executions of all three men took place on February 26. According to Iranian media, they took place in three different suburbs of Karaj, where the crime occured. However, it’s not clear in which one the execution of the man in the video took place.


As he’s about to be publicly hanged, he begins crying and begs to see his mother one last time. When the executioners refuse his last request, he lashes out and knocks several of them down.




Video posted on Youtube showing the public hanging of a condemned criminal in Iran on February 26.


Immediately, swarms of policemen rush onto the platform to restrain the condemned man. They forcefully wrap the noose around his neck, before lifting him onto a podium. The public rally to his side, initially supporting his attempt to break free of his executioners. Moments before his death, he can be heard asking his mother and the public to pardon his crime. Some people in the crowd respond by saying they forgive him.


According to the United Nations, at least 80 people have already reportedly been executed in Iran so far this year. That puts the Islamic Republic second on the list of countries with the highest number of executions, behind China. The Iranian government says it carries out executions in public to set a "harsh example" to would-be criminals, in the hope that they'll be deterred from carrying out crimes in the future.

"These executions have no deterrent effect on the population"

Nazanin is a journalist in Tehran who has covered public executions. 


The authorities don't announce the executions ahead of time. They usually take place in the early morning, and people in the neighbourhood realise that an execution is going to take place when they see the stage being set up.


At all the executions I have been to, I have noticed that the people who gather to watch them are above all curious. They just wanted to see what it's like to see a human die. Sometimes, people who stop to watch don't realise exactly what's going on until it's too late, and are quite shocked. Meanwhile, some have their young kids with them -- I once suggested to a mother that she may want to cover her little boy's eyes, and she said, "oh, he's a kid, he'll forget about this anyway". 


Usually, everyone stays silent. In recent years, people have started bringing their mobile phones to take pictures and short films and put them on social networks. 


The onlookers often feel sympathy both for the victims of the crime, and the criminal who is about to die. People have told me things like, "it's such a shame, he's so young". And in the next breath they'll say, "but then again he killed someone, so he deserves it."


I witnessed an execution of a famous criminal in southern Tehran once. He had killed multiple people, and everyone in the neighbourhood was terrified of him. But at his execution, he addressed the crowd. He admitted his sins and talked about the difficulties he had faced in his youth. The crowd started to feel sympathy for him. In my opinion, these executions have no deterrent effect on the population.



Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Ershad Alijani (@ErshadAlijani).