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Iran park ranger’s death penalty revoked

7 March 2016 21:11



An Iranian forest ranger’s death sentence which had been handed to him over murdering a poacher in the wild has been revoked.  

As’ad Taqizadeh was released from jail on Monday after the family of the illegal poacher withdrew their plea for the execution of the ranger, Iranian media reported.

Iran’s Supreme Court had endorsed the death penalty for Taqizadeh in October 2011 after he was convicted of murdering Mojtaba Rezayi while on duty in 2007 in the mountains of Dena National Park, in central Iran.

The court ruling, as well as similar verdicts for other rangers, sparked social campaigns for their release while calls were made for the protection of forest rangers in the face of the booming trade and poaching of the rare breeds.

Report on Monday said Esmaeil Rezayi, the father the slain poacher, declared his consent for the annulment of Taqizadeh’s death sentence, allowing officials to free the ranger from jail.

Officials in Iran’s Department of the Environment said in early 2015 that the death sentence of six other rangers had also been revoked . Efforts are still underway for the release of Gholamhossein Khaledi, another ranger sentenced to death and currently behind bars in a prison near Dena Park. Khaledi has yet to secure a formal reprieve from the family of the poacher he allegedly killed in 2010.

Environment campaigners say Iran lacks enough laws and regulations when it comes to the protection of the rangers while punishments for illegal hunting are also deemed insufficient.

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