Iran’s Desert Vampire Executed
BBC reports that Mohammad Bijeh, an Iranian serial killer dubbed the “Desert Vampire,” was tortured to death outside Teheran.
An Iranian serial killer who murdered at least 20 children has been executed in front a large crowd of spectators. Mohammad Bijeh, 24, dubbed “the Tehran desert vampire” by Iran’s press, was flogged 100 times before being hanged. A brother of one of his young victims stabbed him as he was being punished. The mother of another victim was asked to put the noose around his neck. The execution took place in Pakdasht south of Tehran, near where Bijeh’s year-long killing spree took place.
The killer was hoisted about 10 metres into the air by a crane and slowly throttled to death in front of the baying crowd. Hanging by a crane – a common form of execution in Iran – does not involve a swift death as the condemned prisoner’s neck is not broken. The killer collapsed twice during the punishment, although he remained calm and silent throughout. Spectators, held back by barbed wire and about 100 police officers, chanted “harder, harder” as judicial officials took turns to flog Bijeh’s bare back before his hanging. Bijeh was stabbed by the 17-year-old brother of victim Rahim Younessi, AFP reported, as he was being readied to be hanged. Officials then invited the mother Milad Kahani to put the blue nylon rope around his neck.
The crimes of Mohammed Bijeh and his accomplice Ali Baghi had drawn massive attention in the Iranian media. They reportedly tricked children to go with them into the desert south of Tehran by saying they were going to hunt animals. They then poisoned or knocked their victims out, sexually abused them and buried them in shallow graves. They were found guilty of the murders of between 19 and 22 people, but local people believe the toll to be higher.
My guess is that even Alan Derschowitz would agree that this qualifies as “torture.” I suppose if anyone deserves it, it’s people like Bijeh. But, damn, this is barbaric.
Update: Michael Demmons, in the comments below, points us to Eugene Volokh‘s post wishing that the United States had similar policies.
I particularly like the involvement of the victims’ relatives in the killing of the monster; I think that if he’d killed one of my relatives, I would have wanted to play a role in killing him. Also, though for many instances I would prefer less painful forms of execution, I am especially pleased that the killing Ã¢€” and, yes, I am happy to call it a killing, a perfectly proper term for a perfectly proper act Ã¢€” was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging.
He defends the position against the obvious counter-arguments. Given that I don’t oppose the death penalty, although I have more qualms about it than I used to, this comes down to sensibilities rather than a purely rational argument. Still, mine comport with the Framers, who proscribed cruelty in punishment in the Bill of Rights, so I’m in good company.