Amnesty International has urged Iran to stop the execution of a man who was found alive at a morgue a day after being hanged.
The 37-year-old man, identified only as “Alireza M”, was initially 'put to death' at the regime's Bojnourd prison in the north east of the country last Wednesday for possessing a kilo of crystal meth.
After hanging for twelve minutes he was declared dead by doctors. However, when his family went to collect his body from the prison morgue the next day they discovered he was still breathing.
"We found him alive again, which made his two daughters very happy," an unnamed family member told Iranian state media.
The condemned man is now being nursed back to health in preparation for a repeat of the execution. "The verdict was the death sentence, and it will be carried out once the man gets well again," an official told the BBC.
A judge reportedly said the man would be executed again “once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough”.
"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.”
According to the campaign group the Iranian authorities have executed at least 508 people in 2013, including 221 executions that have not been officially confirmed. Amnesty claims that the majority of these were connected to drug offences.
Earlier this week, in an unrelated incident, the execution of a man convicted of murder was disrupted after his relatives hurled a grenade, thirty people are thought to have been injured in the incident.
The secretary general of the Iranian judiciary’s high council for human rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, expressed doubts in 2011 that the death penalty reduces crimes related to drug trafficking.
Alireza M is now reported to be in a “satisfactory” condition in hospital.
"Carrying out a second execution on a man who somehow managed to survive 12 minutes of hanging – who was certified as dead and whose body was about to be turned over to his family – is simply ghastly.
It betrays a basic lack of humanity that sadly underpins much of Iran’s justice system,” said Philip Luther.