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21st Century technology assists medieval execution in Iran

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Some braggadocio among two young Iranian men has cost them their lives in a most gruesome fashion. After they posted a video of themselves committing an armed robbery on YouTube, they were hung by the neck until dead as hundreds captured their last moments on their cell phones.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Twenty-three-year-old Alireza Mafiha and 20-year-old Mohammad Ali Sarvari were publicly executed after being tried on YouTube.
   
Executed for robbery, the two men were paraded before a baying crowd of 300 in a public park at the center of the Iranian capital, Tehran. A judge then recounted their crime and delivered the verdict, that they would be hanged for "waging war against God."

Sarvari seemed to accept his fate, while the desperate Mafiha broke down and laid his head on the shoulder of a balaclava-clad Iranian police officer who put an arm around his back.

Nooses were looped around their necks as a group of women at the front of the crowd begged their captors for forgiveness. As the sun came up this past Sunday morning, the executioners pressed the buttons to trigger their deaths.

Mafiha and Sarvari were raised up by two extending cranes to a height of around 15 feet. They were dead within seconds.

The pair had been arrested after they posted a video on YouTube in December showing them attacking a man with a machete on a Tehran street. Depicting four masked men on motorbikes, the video shows them approaching their victim before assaulting him with a machete and taking his bag and jacket.

The 37-second clip was later shown on Iranian television and caused outrage in an urban population terrified by rising crime levels. Both Mafiha and Sarvari were arrested along with two other men.

According to the Iranian Students News Agency, Mafiha had told his trial they had committed the crime because they were poor. His defense did not bring them any leniency from the authorities, who have previously used the harshest of methods to deal with relatively minor crimes.

The men were convicted of "waging war against God," which is a broad charge that can cover actions ranging from anti-state organizing to violent assaults which under Iran's interpretation of Islamic law is punishable by death.

The pairs' accomplices have been sentenced to ten years in jail and 74 lashes. They will then be exiled to a smaller town for five years.

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