no stranger to cruel and unusual punishment; indeed, it is the world leader in executions per capita, but throughout 2016, the mullahs seemed to relish in violence and inflicting it in the most minor of cases.
Now, Amnesty International has called out the mullahs’ dictatorship and asked other international human rights charities and governments to condemn these atrocities.
In a statement, Amnesty International wrote: “Iran’s persistent use of cruel and inhuman punishments, including floggings, amputations and forced blinding over the past year, exposes the authorities’ utterly brutal sense of justice.”
Hundreds are flogged in Iran each year (sometimes in public), for infractions as minor as being improperly veiled in public.
The most recent case brought to light by Amnesty International is that of Najaf Abad, a journalist who ‘inaccurately’ reported the number of motorcycles confiscated by the police in Esfahan Province.
He was lashed 40 times.
Randa Habib, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The latest flogging of a journalist raises alarms that the authorities intend to continue the spree of cruel punishments we have witnessed over the past year into 2017.”
There are more than 100 offences under Iranian law that are punishable by flogging; ranging from minor crimes that should be dealt with via a short prison term or a fine, like vandalism and fraud, to acts that aren’t considered crimes in most of the world, like relationships outside of marriage and same-sex relationships.
Most victims of this repugnant punishment are people under the age of 35, who have been caught eating during Ramadan or attending a mixed-gender party.
April 2016: a couple caught having a relationship outside of marriage were sentenced to 100 lashes each
May 2016: 35 young people caught at a mixed gender party were sentenced to 99 lashes each
May 2016: 17 miners protesting employment conditions were lashed
July 2016: Journalist Mohammad Reza Fathi was sentenced to 459 lashes for “creating unease in the public mind” through his writing
Amputations and Blindings
Amputations and Blindings are another favoured punishment for the Iranian Regime and horrifically, doctors who are high up within the Regime provide “expert” advice on the feasibility of such a brutal act, which breaches their own medical ethics.
Habib said: “Medical professionals have a clear duty to avoid any involvement in acts of torture and other ill-treatment. Rather than aiding and abetting acts of torture by providing pre-blinding medical assessments, doctors in Iran should refuse to participate in such calculated cruelty.”
Habib continued: “Severing people’s limbs, taking away their eyesight and subjecting them to brutal lashings cannot be considered justice. The Iranian authorities should urgently abolish all forms of corporal punishment and take urgent steps to bring the country’s deeply flawed criminal justice system into line with international human rights law and standards.”
Thankfully, many doctors in Iran still take note of the “First, do no harm” section of the Hippocratic Oath and refuse to carry out such a wicked act, but not all of them.
As a country who has signed up to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Iran should have banned torture and inhumane punishment but continues to allow amputation, stoning and flogging under the pretence of Islamic law.
Habib said: “The authorities’ prolific use of corporal punishment, including flogging, amputation and blinding, throughout 2016 highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalises brutality. These cruel and inhuman punishments are a shocking assault on human dignity and violate the absolute international prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment.”