On Wednesday, January 16, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported of the public execution of a man charged with rape in the city of Sabzevar in Khorasan Province. Although there have been many public executions carried out by the Iranian Judiciary, the venue used for this particular execution, the Sabzevar Sports Complex, was unprecedented, reminiscent of the practice of stadium executions and amputations in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

- Related link: Reuters: Taliban executions still haunt Afghan soccer field (Sep 13, 2008)

From the photographs published on Iranian state news websites, hundreds of “spectators” attended the public hanging. The execution took place, according to ISNA quoting Mashad Prosecutor Gholamali Sadeghi, “according to policies of the Judiciary for harsher crackdown on thugs.” Sadeghi told ISNA that the ruling for the execution “was made in accordance with legal duties and in response to public demand from the Judiciary.”