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IHRDC Exclusive Full Length Video of Public Hanging of Three Men in Azadi Square in Kermanshah, Iran

(12 January 2012) Last week, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) published exclusive video of the public execution of three men that took place in Azadi Square in Kermanshah, Iran the morning of Thursday, 5 January, 2012.

Now, IHRDC has obtained the full length version of that video which shows, in greater detail, the lead-up to the execution and reactions from a crowd of hundreds.

As previously reported, the names and ages of the three men hanged are Sassan Basami, 36 years of age; Ali Reza Ahmadi, 48 years of age; and Sadegh Eskandari, 33 years of age – all from Kermanshah. While IHRDC cannot independently confirm the charges against the men, according to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), the men were involved in a series of armed robberies, including an armed robbery of a branch of Sepah bank on 17 August of last year in which four people, including the get-away car driver Saeed Karimi; bank security guard Yavar Entezari; and bank clerk Ali Salehi; were killed. On 3 September 2011, two of the (now executed) men were arrested for the crime, as well as a third man, Salaheddin Jafari. The third man executed on 5 January 2012 was arrested more than two months later, on or around 29 November 2011.

The men were reportedly later tried in the presence of the general director of the judiciary of Kermanshah province, the Kermanshah prosecutor, and a number of officials in the general prosecutor’s office of Kermanshah.

On 8 January 2012, in reference to the hanging of the three men, the front page of Bakhtar newspaper ran the headline: “With the execution of outlaws, the broken heart of Kermanshah is healed.” (See photo below)

Hojjatoleslam Valmoslemin Ali Mozaffari, the general director of the judiciary of Kermanshah province, praised the speed with which the men were sentenced to death. He stated that the accelerated pace was “unprecedented” for cases over the past few years.

The seemingly rapid pace of trial and sentencing for execution raises serious concerns about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s application of the death penalty. Use of the death penalty is permitted in exceptional cases under international law. However a death sentence should only be implemented pursuant to a “final judgment rendered by a competent court” according to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Iran is a state party.

The trial of these three men – seemingly lacking in due process safeguards and with no legitimate right of appeal – does not appear to meet that standard.

While Article 6 of the ICCPR allows for the use of the death penalty, it prescribes that execution be used sparingly and as an exceptional measure. Despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR, it has – to date – reportedly executed 42 people since the start of 2012.