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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

China's 'master' tomb raider gets death penalty

Chinese grave
BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese court has handed a death sentence to a "master" tomb raider from northern China who made a 30-year career out of robbing historical burial sites.

A native of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 55-year-old Yao Yuzhong was found guilty of "digging ancient cultural sites and ancient graves" and "reselling cultural relics", his lawyer, Bi Baosheng, told AFP.

He was given a suspended death penalty with a two-year period in which to appeal the sentence or have it decreased through good behaviour.

The Paper, a Chinese news website, noted that Yao was considered the "kingpin" of a gang of 225 grave-robbing suspects rounded up by authorities in 2015.

Though Yao had only an elementary school education, he was an avid reader and picked up the tradition of trawling tombs from his father, according to local media in north-east Liaoning province, where Yao was tried.

The practice is a timeworn one in China, a country whose long history and elaborate burial customs have made it ripe territory for coffin-crashers.

Yao reportedly got his start combing graves dating back to the Neolithic Hongshan culture. Such graves are shallow and rely more on the raider's ability to perceive excavation sites than on his digging skills, The Paper said.

He steadily built a reputation as a "master" tomb-raider - "the best in all of China's north-east", the news outlet said.

China has seen an upsurge in grave-robbing incidents coinciding with rising demand for Chinese antiquities.

According to the country's State Administration of Cultural Heritage, there were 103 cases of tomb-raiding and cultural relic theft in 2016.

Source: Agence France-Presse, November 30, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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