Iranian authorities hanged a man convicted of drug offences even though he had already been killed in a confrontation with prison officers just prior to his planned execution, an NGO said Monday.
The man, named as Nematullah Barahui, was to be hanged with another man also convicted of drug offences in Zahedan prison in southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province on Sunday, according to Iran Human Rights (IHR), a Norway based organisation.
But it cited unspecified local sources saying that he was killed in an altercation with officers before the planned execution, and that the authorities hanged him anyway to prevent any legal problems for the prison guards.
The Hal Vash news site, which monitors events in Sistan-Baluchistan and those affecting Iran’s Sunni minority, likewise reported that Barahui was killed before the intended execution.
It said that the convict had been woken in the early hours of Sunday and told he was going to be executed.
Taken unawares, he resisted and was then killed by being hit in the neck by prison officers “with a sharp object”, Hal Vash said.
He had three daughters but his family had been prevented by prison authorities from seeing him for years.
There was no confirmation from the Iranian authorities and the execution has not been reported in Iranian media as is the case with most hangings in the country.
Recorded executions in Iran last year – at least 314 — were higher than in any other country worldwide, according to Amnesty International, although this rights group notes such data is not available for China, where it believes annual executions run into the thousands.
IHR says that 462 people have been put to death in Iran so far this year.
Representatives of the Sunni Baluch people who live in Sistan-Baluchistan say disproportionate numbers of the community are executed, and they also suffer from overall discrimination.
The province has been a major flashpoint of late, with over 100 killed by the security forces in Sistan-Baluchistan since September 30, according to IHR.
This toll does not include those killed by security forces in wider ongoing protests sweeping the country since the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the feared morality police in mid-September.