The head of Iran’s Department of the Environment says six of eight forest rangers who were sentenced to death have now been released.
IRNA reports that on Monday August 3, Massoumeh Ebtekar said in a speech in Yasooj that efforts are still underway to secure the release of the other two rangers.
She noted that the eight rangers were sentenced to death under the former administration.
In March of this year, Ebtekar reported that her department had managed to secure a stay of execution for six of the rangers on death row.
The rangers’ families have been vocal in recent years about the Department of the Environment’s failure to advocate for its employees involved in court proceedings due to work-related incidents.
Environmental groups have decried death sentences for forest rangers as detrimental to the cause of environmental protection. The charges against rangers arise from their conflicts with poachers.
According to regulations, rangers who encounter suspended offenders must first give a “halt” warning, after which they can only shoot warning shots into the air. Only then, if the offender persists in disobeying, the rangers can shoot at poachers but only below the waist. They are only allowed to aim directly at offenders when directly attacked themselves.
The Department of the Environment has a shortage of forest rangers for the areas in need of protection.