23/10/2013 10:32 BST | Updated 23/10/2013 10:47 BST

Iranian Minister Says 'No Need' To Hang Convicted Meth Smuggler Who Survived First Execution

Iran's justice minister says there is 'no need' to execute a man who survived a botched hanging

Iran’s justice minister says there is “no need” to execute a convicted drug smuggler who survived a botched hanging.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi said executing the man would harm the country’s image, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The man, who has been named as Alireza A, was found alive in a morgue after being hanged at a jail in the north-eastern city of Bojnord earlier this month.

After the 9 October hanging, which lasted 12 minutes, the 37-year-old’s death was confirmed by a forensic doctor and his death certificate was signed by the judge and other officials present.

Alireza was taken to a morgue and a day after, attendants realised he was still breathing, according to a report on the Iranian state broadcasting website Jam-e-Jam online.

He was transferred to hospital, where he continues to recover.

One family member told the website: "We went to the coroner's office to collect his body to prepare for a memorial service. But we found him alive again, which made his two daughters very happy."

The channel also revealed that he was scheduled to be hanged again once he had regained his health.


Human rights organisation Amnesty International had urged the second execution to be halted.

“The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt Alireza M’s execution and issue a moratorium on all others.”

While Pourmohammadi comments will undoubtedly be welcomed, the BBC points out the government has no direct control over the judiciary, which will make the final decision as to whether the execution takes place.

Alireza was arrested three years ago for carrying crystal meth and sentenced to death by a revolutionary court.

According to NCRI, at least 240 prisoners have been executed in Iran since June, including 10 women.

Figures published by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre say there have been 428 executions since January, though the government has only announced 260.