Justice, Iranian style: Brutal public hangings to crackdown on dissent

The body of Iranian serial child killer Mohammad Bijeh hangs in the town of Pakdasht, south of Tehran March 16, 2005. Dubbed the 'vampire of the Tehran desert' by local media, Bijeh was sentenced to death for killing 17 children, most of them young boys he raped first, and three adults. He began to prey on children more than two years ago but the killings did not come to light because many victims were from illegal refugee families from neighbouring Afghanistan who were afraid to come forward. Pictures of the Month March 2005 REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl Pictures of the Year 2005 MN/VP - RTR56FW

By Tony Duheaume

Iran’s present administration can only be described as a terrorist regime, which uses various violent methods with which to intimidate the population, showing the citizens of cities, towns and villages across the country, how dissenters will pay the ultimate price through capital punishment, should they speak out against the clerical regime, and the most visual form of terror comes in the shape of public hangings.

Cranes are frequently used in executions, with the victim hauled upwards by the neck, to ensure that his neck isn’t broken in a swift kill, and that the agony is prolonged. Where in cases of makeshift gallows, the condemned is stood on a tub or suchlike, and to ensure gradual strangulation and a slow death, the object they are standing on is kicked from beneath them, and the fall is a short one.

Such are the twisted minds that set up these executions, they ensure that young children stand to watch these macabre events with the rest of the crowd, quite often. The younger siblings of teenagers view the execution of their loved one, who dies in agony as asphyxiation slowly shuts down the brain.

Symbols of death

In civilized countries of the world, cranes are a symbol of construction and ongoing development. In Iran they are symbols of death, and secret isolated graves, where loved ones are forbidden to tend them. These varied makeshift hanging trees, are most often found in the centre of towns and villages across the land, where countless numbers of dissidents meet their fate, their only crime; to speak out against a regime that shows no mercy to dissenters.

No sooner had Khomeini come to power, Iran’s prison and “legal” system had become the main method with which to eradicate political opponents, while at the same time instil terror into the population at large through public hangings.

With Iran having no legal system like that of the civilized world, if you cross the clerical regime by speaking out; you become a prime target for imprisonment, torture and death.

Legal representation is just a string of words as far the ruling clerics are concerned, kept only as a sign to the outside world that any Iranian facing trial will be treated in a just manner; but in reality, if the person on trial has fallen foul of the regime, he will be found guilty no matter what.Tony Duheaume

Legal representation is just a string of words as far the ruling clerics are concerned, kept only as a sign to the outside world that any Iranian facing trial will be treated in a just manner; but in reality, if the person on trial has fallen foul of the regime, he will be found guilty no matter what.

Dissidents are arrested on false charges, vague to say the least, and if they are lucky enough to obtain legal representation after they are charged, if a lawyer is brave enough to protest an unfair sentence, he too will be thrown into prison, and tortured.

In Iran, there is no distinction between children and adults when it comes to committing a criminal offence, both are equal under the law. With no separate juvenile justice law, children are sentenced in exactly the same way as adults under the Islamic Penal Code 2013. Puberty under the Iranian Civil Code is defined as 15 lunar years for boys (14 years and 7 months) and 9 lunar years for girls (8 years and 9 months).

In cases where children have committed an offence worthy of capital punishment, if they have reached the age of puberty, they can be legally hung. While those that are younger, are incarcerated in adult prisons until they reach puberty, after which a legal execution can be carried out.

Most notorious locations

One of the most notorious locations, where high security prisoners like the MEK are held, in very brutal conditions, is referred to as Section 209, which is located in Evin Prison in Tehran, a place where beatings, torture, mock executions and brutal interrogations are used to both terrorize, and break the will of all inmates confined there.

On the morning of April 17, 2014, in excess of 100 prison guards and intelligence agents, many fully kitted out in full riot gear, others wearing jeans and sneakers, but all powerfully-built, burst into Ward 350 of Evin Prison. In a wild frenzy, the intruders proceeded to brutally beat the malnourished and fragile inmates, some of whom were in their seventies, using batons, fists and a flurry of kicks, in a completely unprovoked attack against helpless prisoners who had no means of defending themselves.

While the beatings were taking place, the inmate’s meagre possessions were destroyed, and the rampaging attackers defiled the battered prisoners with a torrent of vulgar verbal abuse, spitting into their faces as they were being firmly held. Then at the end of it all, these badly beaten prisoners were refused medical treatment, and were dragged off to solitary cells in Ward 240 of the prison, where Revolutionary Guards and intelligence agents continued the brutal beatings, tearing the clothes from the bodies of the helpless inmates, and shaving off their hair and moustaches.

Even now that President Hassan Rowhani has taken over the Iranian administration, this so-called moderate is presiding over a country noted for the highest number of executions in the world, and with a spike of executions under Rowhani, this shows there is no chance of a change of attitude under his presidency.

Having had a strong interest in Middle East politics for over forty years, Tony Duheaume has come to fully understand the present threat that Islamist extremism can bring to both the Middle East and the West, and having had four books published related to the Iranian regime on Amazon, he has become a powerful critic of the Iranian regime.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English’s point-of-view.




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