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Scene from an Iranian execution: Condemned man lays his head on hangman's shoulder

Just before nooses were put on their necks, Alireza Mafiha, 23, laid his head on an executioner's shoulder. Mohammad Ali Sarvari, 20, stood alongside him. The execution of the two young men in a Tehran park on Sunday is described by Thomas Erdbrink of The New York Times:

The condemned stood shoulder to shoulder, motionless, in front of two police trucks with two nooses hanging from extendable cranes, about 15 feet high. Black-clad executioners were inspecting the remote controls they would use to hang the men, both in their early 20s, who were convicted of stabbing a man in November and stealing his bag and the equivalent of $20.

Sunday’s execution in Park-e Honarmandan (Artists Park), near the crime scene, was part of a heavy-handed offensive by Iranian authorities, who say they are trying to prevent rising crime rates from getting out of hand by setting harsh examples. In recent weeks, public executions have been stepped up, and in several large cities the police have been rounding up what they call thugs and hooligans. Read the full story.