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Killer of Friday prayer imam in Iran sentenced to public hanging

Killer of Friday prayer imam in Iran sentenced to public hanging

A man who killed the Friday prayer leader (imam) in the city of Kazeroun, southern Iran, has been sentenced to a public hanging at the murder scene.

Hamid Reza Derakhshandeh, 47, was tried on Wednesday morning, July 3 at a court in the city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars province.

The judge issued the verdict minutes after a single court session. The verdict to hang the convict at the location of the murder is based on a Sharia principle of an eye for an eye.

However, Derakhshandeh has the right to appeal.

The imam, Sheikh Mohammad Khorsand, was stabbed to death on May 29 as he was returning from a religious ceremony at 3:30 in the morning when the assailant attacked him.

Before stabbing the imam, Derakhshandeh asked the victim for a selfie, Khorsand's wife disclosed. Khorsand later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

Police identified the attacker and he was arrested later in the day.


According to the local news outlets, without mentioning his motive, Derakhshandeh has expressed remorse for the killing.

Although not much is known about Derakhshandeh's political and social background, sources close to Iranian state officials have accused him of being a member of "newly formed deviant cults."

Kazeroun was the scene of large-scale protests and bloody clashes between citizens and security forces May 16-17, 2018.

A controversial proposal to divide the ancient city into two separate entities enraged Kazeroun residents, who poured into the streets and invaded the Friday prayer location.

Fars news agency reported at the time that the demonstration was organized on the social networking platform Telegram.

A local MP, who tabled the motion for the new demarcation, wanted to elevate his part of the town to a "city."

However, the city's imam for the Friday prayers, who is appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was vehemently against the division.

Last April, another assailant gunned down a seminary student in the western province of Hamadan. Local security quickly identified the murderer and killed him in a shootout.

Last Modified: Thursday، 04 July 2019 03:27 PM