10/17/2013 08:47 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Iran Hanging Failure Means Alireza Faces Second Execution Attempt

Amnesty International is urging Iran to halt the execution of a man who was found alive in a morgue after he survived a hanging last week. 

The 37-year-old man, identified as Alireza M, was found guilty of drug charges. He was declared dead after a 12-minute hanging Oct. 9 at Bojnord prison in the country's northeast, but was found breathing the next day and taken to hospital, according to state media.

An official with Iran's judiciary said he would be executed again once he has recovered. 

“The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty,” Philip Luther, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said in a release. 

“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt Alireza M’s execution and issue a moratorium on all others.” 

Iranian police said 20 people were wounded when the family of a man who was sentenced to death hurled a grenade in an attempt to stop his execution in the western town of Ilam earlier this month. 

Murder, rape, armed robbery and kidnapping, along with drug trafficking, are all punishable by death in Iran. International rights groups have criticized Iran for its growing pace of hangings

Amnesty International says Iran has executed 508 people this year, mostly for drug offences.

"It is natural that the Iranian authorities must combat the serious social, security and economic problems relating to drug trafficking and drug abuse but the reliance on the death penalty to combat drug trafficking is misguided and in violation of international law,” said Luther. 

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