In an editorial titled, “Why all the excitement about executions?” Asr Iran comments on the public execution of four rapists, bringing the victims’ perspective and mass participation into closer focus, as follows:
The responsibility for creating social conditions that will prevent crime rests with the government – There is no doubt that these people are guilty and their victims are certainly unfortunate, but many of the criminals, are themselves products of society, its ailments and deficiencies. The policy guidelines of Imam Ali were not based solely on punishment, but also on removing the obstacles from society. For example, when he saw an old man begging, he said that he had worked for society when he was young, and therefore, he should receive money from the treasury in his old age… The reality is that many of the bandits and thieves, who pocket the public’s money or commit sex crimes, personify “unmet needs.” The role of government is to operate efficiently and properly manage the economic and social conditions so that they provide an adequate response to the physical and psychological needs of citizens. Yes, that includes an appropriate response – no merely slogans – for the sexual needs of the young people in Iran. Of course, I’m not saying that anyone who has sexual needs commits sex crimes.
“How could a father bring his five-year-old daughter or young son to a public execution?”– First read the Mehr News Agency report on today’s executions: “At 4 a.m. it was raining hard. The streets leading to relevant intersection are full of police vehicles and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods moving toward the appointed place, to watch the execution. As you get closer, the area becomes more crowded with young people and teens, who are the main audience. The executions were publicized in advance with ads and posters; the news was relayed by text messages and spread like wildfire. Approximately 3,000 spectators packed the execution area.” Out of concern, we ask the sociologists, what is the explanation for our citizens’ excitement about an execution? This is not the first time residents of Tehran and other cities have responded so enthusiastically to such events, as if they something was being given away for free! What brings to citizens to arrive hours in advance and wait in the rain to see the death of some criminals? Many even tried to climb that utility poles to be sure that they did not miss the moment! Another point: before showing movies with scenes of violence, it is now customary to warn families that the film is not appropriate for children under 13 or 16, etc. This is done in Iran and other countries, because such scenes of violence have a negative impact on the lives of children and youth. If such warnings are provided for movies, why is this not considered for genuine, live events? How could a father bring his five-year-old daughter or young son to a public execution? And even buy them an ice cream and force them to watch the sad moments when the condemned men squirm until their souls depart? Even if there is interest in public executions, it is essential to inform families about the negative consequences. If some parents are stupid or irresponsible enough to bring their young children such an event, it is the responsibility of the police and security forces to keep the children away from the scene. Protecting the children of Iran is more important than executing criminals.