WOM, IRAN (BNO NEWS) — A man who was previously convicted of murdering an 8-year-old boy was hung inside a prison in the northern Iranian city of Qom on Saturday, state-run media reported.
The Fars News Agency reported that the murder took place earlier this year when the 8-year-old boy had gone out to buy some food nearby. When he did not return after 20 minutes, his mother got worried and began searching for him. She informed police about two hours later when she was unable to find him.
The suspicion of investigating officers soon fell on a man who lived in the same neighborhood and had been in contact with the boy on previous occasions. The boy’s body was found inside a large plastic bag when police entered the house after obtaining a warrant.
Fars reported that the suspect initially claimed that the boy died when he fell and hit his head. But he later admitted during interrogations that he had killed the boy by hitting him on the head. The man was later convicted of murder and was hung inside a prison in Qom on Saturday.
On May 29, Iran hung two men who were previously convicted of raping young children. It followed the execution of a serial killer and ten other people just several days earlier. Murder, rape, and drugs trafficking are among the crimes which are punishable by death in Iran.
According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government acknowledged that at least 252 people were executed in Iran last year, although their reports indicate the actual figure is more than 550. Among those executed were five women and one adult who committed his crime when he was underage.
The vast majority of those executed in Iran last year was for alleged drug trafficking, a crime authorities claim has led to the deaths of more than 4,000 police officers in recent years.
According to human rights groups, trials in Iran do often not meet international standards of fairness. Proceedings, particularly those held outside Tehran, are often summary, lasting only a few minutes. Mass trials also take place on some occasions.
In October 2010, Amnesty International reported, Iran’s Interior Minister stated that the campaign against drug trafficking was being intensified, and the Prosecutor General stated in the same month that new measures had been taken to speed up the judicial processing of drug-trafficking cases, including by referring all such cases to his office, thereby denying them a right to appeal to a higher tribunal, as is required under international law.
Two months later, the amended Anti-Narcotics Law came into force, apparently making it easier to sentence to death those convicted of drug trafficking, according to Amnesty International. The law extended the scope of the death penalty to include additional categories of illegal drugs such as crystal meth, possession of which became punishable by death. Under the Anti-Narcotics Law, some defendants are not granted a right to appeal, as their convictions and sentences are confirmed by the state Prosecutor-General.
Family members of executed persons also faced persecution in some cases last year and were often not given the bodies of their relatives for burial. Others said that they had to pay officials in order to receive their relatives’ bodies, as payment for the rope used to hang them.