Dramatic new footage from Iran highlights the repressive nature of the Islamic regime that is pursuing nuclear power. Video captured the desperate struggle of a prisoner in Karaj, a city north of Tehran, moments before he was hung publicly as is the custom in Iran.
His final request to say goodbye to his mother before being killed was denied by the hangmen, who ignored the mother's heartfelt pleas from the audience to say a last goodbye to her son.
In response to the cruelty, the man kicked out at one of the hangmen, knocking him from the gallows box and overturning the bench he was to stand on for the hanging.
Warning: Video footage below may be graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
A desperate struggle ensued as the outnumbered condemned man fought against hangmen with his hands tied. It was a struggle fated for a tragic outcome, as the guards overpowered the man and carried out the execution right before the man's mother and the public.
Iran has dramatically escalated the pace of hangings; Amnesty International revealed that in the first 21 days of 2014, a rate of two hangings were carried out every day.
Execution orders are often given in secret trials held by Revolutionary Guard courts, where defendants may have restricted access to legal defense and where sentences are often given in secret, reports Amnesty International.
“In Iran drug-related offenses are tried in Revolutionary Courts which routinely fall far short of international fair trial standards. The reality in Iran is that people are being ruthlessly sentenced to death after unfair trials, and this is unacceptable," remarked Hassiba Hadja Sahraoui, Deputy Program Manager for Amnesty International in the Middle East and North Africa.
United Nations officials spoke out following the January report, denouncing “the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty.”
Among those killed by hanging was An Arab-Iranian poet and human rights activist, executed in late January for being an "enemy of G-d." The 32-year-old poet had spoken out against the mistreatment of ethnic Arabs in Iran's Khuzestan province, which borders Iraq.