• Wednesday, October 05, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Iranian woman sentenced to death dies of heart attack after watching 16 inmates hanged

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

An Iranian woman was hanged despite dying before her execution was carried out, media reports said.

Zahra Esmaili, who had been sentenced to death for killing her husband, suffered a fatal heart attack watching more than a dozen people hanged ahead of her. Yet, officials carried out the death sentence on her dead body, The Mirror reported.

Esmaili had been on death row for the murder of her husband, an intelligence official, who had subjected her to abuse. He was shot dead in July 2017.

Esmaili’s two children were arrested as her co-conspirators. While her daughter was sentenced to five years, her son was cleared of conspiracy charges.

Iranian rights organisations confirmed the capital punishment of Esmaili in February 2021.

Her lawyer Omid Moradi claimed the woman had suffered a heart attack in the moments leading up to her execution “after witnessing 16 men being executed before her”, a human rights group told The Mirror.

The guards hanged her corpse with her husband’s mother kicking the stool from beneath her, the newspaper reported.

But officials denied she had died of a heart attack.

Iran HR, a rights organisation, said the regime used execution to instil fear into people.

Its director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said they wanted to convey the message that ‘Obey our rules, this can happen to you’.

Executions in Iran rose by 25 per cent in 2021, a report by two leading NGOs said.

The rate of executions in the country also accelerated after the election of hardline former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi to the presidency, the report by Iran HR and France’s Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) said.

At least 333 people were executed in 2021, a 25 per cent increase compared to 267 in 2020, said the report, based on official media.

At least 126 executions were for drug-related charges, five times higher than 2020’s figure of 25.

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