Iranian drug smuggler who survived execution to be hanged again
On a Wednesday earlier this month, Alireza, a 37-year-old man jailed for smuggling drugs and sentenced to death in Iran, woke up to what was supposed to be his last day alive. Outside his cell in Bojnurd prison, in Iran's northern Khorasan province, the gallows were waiting and the countdown had already begun.
Just before sunrise, the guards hanged him for possessing a kilogram of crystal meth. Exactly 12 minutes later medics pronounced him dead and sent his body for burial. But in the morgue the next day, something unusual caught the eyes of a worker who was preparing the corpse: vapour in the plastic cover he was wrapped in. Alizera was still alive.
He was instantly taken to Bojnurd's Imam Ali hospital.
Now, to the dismay of his family, Iranian judicial authorities are waiting for him to make a full recovery before they hang him again, according to the state-run Jam-e-Jam newspaper, which was first to break the news of Alireza's ordeal.
Iran's judiciary has argued that he was sentenced to death, rather than to hanging, and should be re-executed.
But human rights activists say he should be spared.
A nurse told Jam-e-Jam that Alireza's general health was satisfactory and he was making progress day by day.
"We couldn't believe he was still alive when we went to collect his body," a relative told the Iranian newspaper. "More than anyone, his two daughters are very happy."
Mohmmad Erfan, a judge with Iran's administrative justice court, told Jam-e-Jam: "The sentence issued by the revolutionary court is the death penalty - in such circumstances it should be repeated once again."
Alireza, whose surname has not been published by the Iranian media to protect his identity, was arrested three years ago for carrying and possessing Shisheh, an Iranian nickname for methamphetamine in crystal form. A revolutionary court found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
Amnesty, which has long campaigned for the global abolition of the death penalty, said the plan to send Alireza to the gallows again was wrong. "I am appalled by the ghastly plan to 're-execute' a man who had been hanged, certified as dead and whose body had been turned over to his family before he revived," researcher Drewery Dyke said.