Dead woman hanged in Iran so ‘murdered husband’s mother can kick the chair’

A dead woman has been hanged so her murdered husband's mother could kick the chair from under her in Iran, it has been claimed.

Mum-of-two Zahra Ismaili's lawyer said she collapsed from an apparent heart attack while waiting in line behind 16 men, the Times reports.

Omid Moradi claimed she was being forced to watch as they were hanged and she appeared to be dead – but authorities went on with the hanging to allow her victim's mother to kick away the chair from under her.

Ismaili was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing her husband.

But Mr Moradi claimed he was abusive and she had acted to defend herself and her daughter as he described her execution in an online post.

The lawyer added that Alireza Zamani, the woman's husband, was an official of the Iranian intelligence ministry. They had two children.

Ismaili's execution took place on Wednesday in Rajai Shahr Prison, a notoriously harsh jail in Karaj, a town 20 miles west of the capital.

The Islamic Republic has carried out many death penalties in the past few weeks.

But executing 17 people together is believed to be extreme even by the regime's standards.

Iran regularly comes second only to China in annual tables of the use of the death penalty.

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China reportedly uses terrifying mobile death vans and firing squads to execute far more people than the rest of the world combined.

Human rights experts estimated "thousands" get the death penalty in China every year with a 99% conviction rate, the Sun reports.

The state doesn't share the figure but it's thought to be much more than the 657 annual total in the rest of the world.

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Amnesty International’s China researcher Kai Ong claimed China often holds mass rallies to announce people being sentenced to death.

She said: "The Chinese government still sees the use of the death penalty as an effective deterrent to crimes.

"Each June, local governments often hold mass sentencing rallies, in which students, teachers and the public are invited to witness the court handing down the death penalty to individuals convicted of drug-related crimes."

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Lethal injections have taken over as the main form of execution in the People’s Republic.

Mobile deaths vans have allowed the execution of prisoners without having to transport them to jail since 2003, said Amnesty.

And firing squad executions are said to continue despite official claims they wouldn't since 2010.

Ms Ong added: "Although the Chinese government follows the policy of killing fewer, killing cautiously, it also sees the use of the death penalty as an effective deterrent to serious crimes, especially drug-related crimes.

"It is unlikely that the number of new death sentences and executions will go down significantly in the near future."

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