Islamic vigilantism given an official seal of approval in the Islamic Republic of Iran. “Group cleared over Iran murders,” by Frances Harrison for BBC News, with thanks to JM:
Iran’s Supreme Court has acquitted a group of men charged over a series of gruesome killings in 2002, according to lawyers for the victims’ families.
The vigilantes were not guilty because their victims were involved in un-Islamic activities, the court found.
The killers said they believed Islam let them spill the blood of anyone engaged in illicit activities if they issued two warnings to the victims.
The serial killings took place in 2002 in the south-eastern city of Kerman.
The case raises serious questions about vigilantes in Iran taking justice into their own hands and undermining the rule of law.
Up to 18 people were killed in just one year, but only five of the murders were tried in court.
According to their confessions, the killers put some of their victims in pits and stoned them to death. Others were suffocated. One man was even buried alive while others had their bodies dumped in the desert to be eaten by wild animals.
The accused, who were all members of an Islamic paramilitary force, told the court their understanding of the teachings of one Islamic cleric allowed them to kill immoral people if they had ignored two warnings to stop their bad behaviour.