Friday, February 15, 2008
Iran Sets Record High Executions
From BBC News:
Early morning in Tehran, and two mobile cranes are being manoeuvred into place. They are to act as temporary gallows for a public execution.
Already the crowd are out in force, some of them in a remarkably cheery mood. A few are getting ready to photograph the scene on their mobile phones. There are even one or two young children around.
As the sentence is read out, the two criminals are brought out.
They have been convicted of bank robberies and murders, including the murder of a senior judge, close to this very spot in Tehran.
But there is no sign of remorse. In fact, one of the two men can't stop smiling, even as the noose is put around his neck. Then swiftly the stool is pulled from under their legs.
The bodies are left dangling - a lesson for everyone to see.
Under the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the number of executions has increased dramatically.
Amnesty International says the figures are up from 200 executions in 2006 to about 300 last year, and there have been more than 30 in the first month of this year alone.
"In Islam, punishment is very harsh," [said Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi, a professor of Islamic law], "Because the philosophy of punishment is to prevent the people from committing a crime."
One man was stoned to death in Iran last year, after being convicted of adultery. [Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton sigh relief, ever-so-thankful they were not born in Iran. - Drake]
Human rights groups say two sisters, Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, now face the same penalty, after they were also convicted of adultery. Both are mothers, each with one child.
To add to this challenging list of punishments, the Iranian Nobel peace prize winner and human rights lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, has warned of a revival of the practice of amputation.
She said that several criminals in the remote province of Sistan-Baluchistan had recently had hands and legs amputated.
On this 29th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, the government of the Islamic republic is prouder than ever of its difference from Western liberal countries.
It thrives on a confrontation with the West, not just on matters of foreign policy, but on basic questions of religious and social values.
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