The public hanging of a convicted criminal during February, and a video of the event which has gone viral on the internet, has raised awareness and sparked debate among Iranians and around the world about the brutal practice of public execution in Iran. The person in the video is seen being forcibly restrained by policemen before being hanged. The majority of Iran’s population is deeply disturbed by, and wants an end to, this vile system of execution.
Hangings of convicted criminals occur often in public spaces in Iran. According to the United Nations, at least 80 people have already reportedly been executed in Iran so far this year. That puts the Islamic Republic second on the list of countries with the highest number of executions, just behind China.
The Iranian government says it carries out executions in public to set a "harsh example" to would-be criminals, in the hope that they'll be deterred from carrying out crimes in the future. But Iran regularly hangs people for relatively minor crimes such as adultery, or for holding anti-establishment political opinions, and it often hangs them without adequate investigations or legal representation for the accused, or after condemnation by kangaroo courts. Most Iranians believe that the public hangings are less about deterring genuine criminals than the government maintaining control, through fear, over the population.