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Demonstration against death sentences of two Iranian activists (here in Washington, D.C.)


Allison Bailey / NurPhoto / IMAGO

In Iran, according to human rights activists, a man has been publicly hanged in front of a large crowd of spectators. The execution of the man convicted of the capital crime of "corruption on earth" took place in broad daylight in the city of Maragha in the province of East Azerbaijan, said the Norway-based organization Iran Human Rights (IHR).

Images on Iranian news portals show a gathering of apparently hundreds of people watching the execution behind a security barrier. The man is also shown with the noose around his neck. The convict had been arrested about five years ago and then found guilty of offenses related to his relationships with women. What exactly the alleged crimes consisted of was not revealed.

»Medieval Practices«

"The international community must not condone such medieval practices," said IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. The execution shows the "true face of a government that ensures its survival with cruelty, humiliation and intimidation of society."

According to human rights organizations, more people are executed annually in Iran than in any other country in the world – with the exception of China. However, public executions are rare, most of them take place in prisons. The only two public executions in 2022 had been carried out at dawn with almost no audience.

Recently, the number of executions in Iran had risen. Human rights activists see this as a measure to intimidate society after the emergence of anti-government protests in autumn 2022. The protests were sparked by the death of the young Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police. She had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict Islamic headscarf regulations.

According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, seven men have already been hanged in cases related to the protests, and seven others are threatened with the same fate. According to IHR, 278 people have already been executed in Iran since the beginning of the year.