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Iranian who survived hanging sent to the gall -

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PETER LLOYD: An Iranian man who survived being hanged for 12 minutes is reportedly recovering in hospital after he was discovered still breathing in a mortuary.

But his ordeal is far from over - a judge has declared that once he is well, the father of two should be executed all over again.

At least 125 people have been executed in Iran since the country’s new president Hassan Rouhani took office.

Katie Hamann reports.

KATIE HAMANN: He's being called Alireza M. Until last Wednesday the 37-year-old father of two was just one of hundreds of people who are hanged in Iran each year for drug offences.

His sentence was carried out on October the 9th - unsuccessfully.

MICHAEL HAYWORTH: They hung him by his neck for 12 minutes until they pronounced him dead. When his family came to collect the body the next day in the morgue, they actually found that Alireza was alive and that he had in fact survived this horrific ordeal.

KATIE HAMANN: Michael Hayworth is the crisis campaigner for Amnesty International Australia. The group has launched a global campaign to raise awareness of Alireza's case and others like him who aren't so lucky.

MICHAEL HAYWORTH: Iran's in one of the top five executors worldwide. It's executor of approximately 508 people this year, 221 of those have not yet been confirmed by state news media or the state themselves. But still a very, very high number or executions.

KATIE HAMANN: The vast majority of people sentenced to death in Iran are convicted of drug crimes. Alireza was found guilty of trafficking one kilogram of methamphetamine.

Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam is the spokesman for the Norway based Iran Human Rights. He says the death sentence does nothing to reduce the availability and use of drugs in Iran.

MAHMOOD AMIRY-MOGHADDAM: We believe that Iranian authorities use death penalty to spread fear in society. Their purpose is not to fight crimes but to actually continue their survival, because in these past 20, 30 years that Iran has been using death penalty for drug issues, not only the drug problem has not been reduced, it has also been increased, both the trafficking, drug addiction.

So there is no evidence that their use of the death penalty has helped.

KATIE HAMANN: Professor Amiry-Moghaddam says people who are sentenced to death are routinely denied a fair hearing.

MAHMOOD AMIRY-MOGHADDAM: They have confessed and they’re tortured because all these people are sentenced by the revolutionary courts behind the closed doors. Many often don't have access to lawyers and we really don't know whether they have committed the crime Iranian authorities claim or not.

KATIE HAMANN: In recent days, Iranians have taken the unusual step of speaking out in defence of Alireza.

A group of lawyers have reportedly circulated a petition, arguing that the sentence has already been carried out. Religious leaders have also questioned the punishment.

Professor Amiry-Moghaddam says the international community also has a role to play.

MAHMOOD AMIRY-MOGHADDAM: The international community, they have been very responsive in Iran's let say good will in the nuclear issue but they haven't been mentioning the death penalty.

So with the death penalty they show their other face to the Iranian people, you know, while the Iranian foreign minister or president travel to the West, they smile and they you know they show their goodwill in negotiating but inside Iran a number of executions are - actually in the last two or three months it's higher than average monthly executions.

PETER LLOYD: That's Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, from the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group, ending that report by Katie Hamann.