Posts filed under 'Malaysia'

1979: Eleven by a Firing Squad in Iran

13 comments August 27th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1979, the only anonymous photograph to win a Pulitzer Prize captured nine Kurdish rebels and two of the Shah’s policemen executed by firing squad in revolutionary Iran.

This shot, one of a series taken of the event with the permission of the judge who condemned the men to immediate death in a half-hour trial at the Sanandaj airfield, ran the next day in the Iranian paper Ettela’at, whose editor prudently kept the photographer’s identity secret. Within two days, the stunning photo had rocketed around the world.

It won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography the following spring, still credited anonymously.

Two years ago, the Wall Street Journal revealed — with the photographer’s permission — the identity of the man who shot this indelible image: Jahangir Razmi, who had gone on to a career as one of Iran’s top photographic journalists. He came to New York to collect the prize 27 years late.

The article breaking the story is still available on the Journal‘s website, and on the personal site of reporter Joshua Prager. An NPR story discussing the search for Razmi’s identity is here.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Iran,Malaysia,Mass Executions,Mature Content,Murder,Popular Culture,Power,Public Executions,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Summary Executions,Treason

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2006: Mohamed Amin Mohamed Razali, mystical Malaysian militant

Add comment August 4th, 2008 Headsman

Two years ago today, the strange leader of a mystical Islamic fight club was hanged at Malaysia’s Sungai Buloh prison for waging war on the king.

Caption Contest?: The Headsman could be mistaken, but based on an altogether amateur comparison to the Razali shot on this BBC story, I believe that’s him in the white. Photo from the sect website.

The heretofore obscure Al Ma’unah — just a couple dozen guys — had descended on an army camp in July 2000 and made off with a handsome cache of weapons and a few hostages, apparently the opening gambit in a bid to launch an Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Malaysia.

What actually happened was the army hunted them down and engulfed them a couple of days later.

You’d never know the ambitious designs of this clique from its web site (still online as of this writing), whose English “about us” page rings harmlessly loopy (all grammatical manglings [sic]):

Al-Ma’unah … is a Non-Govermental Organisation (NGO) … involved in the teaching of martial arts particularly the development of one’s inner power and the practice of Islamic traditional medicine.

Literary, the term “Ma’unah” is an Arabic word which means, something extraordinary that happens to an ordinary Muslim individual, for example extra sensory perception or the ability to see “things” in another dimension (paranormal).

“Al-Ma’unah Inner Power” can be defined as “something extraordinary bestowed to a righteous Muslim (in the form of assistance from Allah) in accordance with specific adherence to tradition and proper sequence emphasising on the Islamic principles and Allah’s commandments as stipulated in the holy Quran”.

In teaching the martial art and traditional medicine, the brotherhood placed more emphasis on spiritual development and enlightenment of its members or “ikhwan” as it is known in Al-Maunah, in order to achieve the highest level of proficiency in the art and to attain great healing powers.

… although a section entitled “The Usage of the Inner Power” suggests the training achieves the sorts of useful martial superpowers more commonly found on a Dungeons & Dragons treasure table:

Among the benefit of Al-Ma’unah Inner Power can be listed as follows:

o For health and vitality, both physically and spiritually.
o Making an enemy/attacker to freeze on the spot and to be hurled sprawling backwards without being touch.
o Invincible from sharp objects, weapons, boiling water, fire etc.
o To transfer temporarily the inner energy to another object.
o Able to attain healing powers.
o Able to tie enemies without using rope.
o Able to hypnotise a violent aggressor to sleep or forget his intention.
o Able to pull back a fleeing snatch thief or robber from great distance (without physical body contact).
o Able to make attackers to drop to their knees or fall down with the blink of an eye.
o For marital bliss.
o Able to increase influence over others.

Too bad it didn’t protect against hemp.

Most of the 19 who survived the manhunt and went on trial eagerly cut deals, groveled (“Please don’t send us to the gallows!” one said during the hearing), and pointed the finger at the former army private. Razali didn’t say boo at trial and died stoically at about 6 a.m. this morning.

Although there were 359 executions in Malaysia from 1970 to 2001, the practice has dropped into disuse in this decade; Razali appears to be the last person executed in Malaysia as of this post’s publication. Amnesty International has suggested that Malaysia’s zero figure might conceal some secret (presumably extrajudicial) executions. While the government angrily denied that suggestion, the death penalty has come under growing scrutiny in Malaysia.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Guerrillas,Hanged,Malaysia,Religious Figures,Revolutionaries,Ripped from the Headlines,Soldiers,Treason

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