EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 13/23/96
UA 171/96 Fear of Execution 5 July 1996
IRANNiyaz 'Ali, a farmer in his late 30s
Amnesty International is dismayed at reports that an Iranian man is facing
execution four months after he survived a first hanging.
Niyaz 'Ali, from Mehraban in the west of Iran, was sentenced to death for murder
under the Islamic Law of "Qesas" (retaliation). Under this law, relatives
of a murder victim can either choose to accept "blood money" or to insist on
execution. He was to be executed in February 1996. According to an article
in an Iranian newspaper, Niyaz 'Ali was pronounced dead reportedly after hanging
for 20 minutes. However, when his brother came to collect the body five hours
later, he found that his heart was still beating and called for a second
examination, after which Niyaz 'Ali was declared to be alive. The organization
fears that he is at imminent risk of a second execution unless his sentence
Amnesty International is opposed to the death penalty in all cases as the
ultimate violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment as proclaimed in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a newspaper interview from his jail in Hamedan, Niyaz 'Ali described his
"That first second lasted like a thousand years ... I felt my arms and
legs jerking out of control ... Up on the gallows in the dark,
I was trying to fill my lungs with air, but they were crumpled
up like plastic bags"
Amnesty International believes that an incident such as this further highlights
the barbarity of the death sentence, and urges the Iranian Government to exercise
clemency in the case of Niyaz 'Ali to spare him from suffering this inhumanity
a second time.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, Arabic or your own language:
- urging that the death sentence against Niyas 'Ali be commuted;
- drawing attention to Paragraph 9 of the UN safeguards guaranteeing protection
of the rights of those facing the death penalty, which states that "[w]here
capital punishment occurs, it shall be carried out so as to inflict the minimum
- pointing out that there is no evidence that the death penalty deters serious
crimes more effectively than other punishments;
- drawing attention to world trends to abolish or reduce the use of the death
penalty, the desirability of which was reaffirmed in Resolution 32/61 of 8
December 1977 of the United Nations General Assembly.
1) Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue