The story of treatment of people accused of eating in public in Ramadan

In the month of Ramadan, those who eat in public are arrested and taken to a court and will be punished by flogging or pay fines. The detainees have no right to appeal the sentences which are carried out immediately after being issued.

Here is a report shows the behavior with regard to the previous day’s dispute in the city court of Rasht, capital of the northern Iranian province of Gilan.

In a hot, humid climate of the last days of spring, you will witness strange scenes. Every 30 minutes, a handcuffed person is taken to court. A policeman takes a 32-year-old man. A member of the Basij arrives with a high school student. Another woman in chador accompanies a young woman of twenty and some years. A secret agent and a soldier drive two young boys 13 and 19 years old.

They are all lined up in front of the office of city’s Procurator and each return in turn. They report to the Deputy Prosecutor the identity of the accused, his age and the place where they were arrested when they ate, drank or smoked. Then, with silence, the judge looks at the accused and leads him out of the room. A soldier opens a file for the accused and refers it to one of the three branches of the Rasht court.

One of the accused said he had forgotten that it was the month of Ramadan. Another justified that he was ill and had not eaten in public. He was drinking in a corner when a member of the Basij members arrested him. The young woman who had been transferred at noon to the court explained that she was fasting but she had to drink some water due to the heat and hypotension. Then she was arrested by the police in a park drinking water and eating a cake. Another young man who was smoking in his car claims to have forgotten the month of Ramadan.

Without paying any attention to the explanations provided by the defendants, the judge issues the punishments pointing out that the sentences cannot be appealed.

The judge sentenced 28-year-old Ahmad, to 77 lashes for smoking a cigarette.

Immediately afterwards, he was conducted to the identity recognition and fingerprint section. Subsequently he was transferred to the Implementation of Verdict Unit where the ruling will be carried out.

Similarly, the young woman is sentenced to 40 lashes and 100,000 tomans of tax penalties.

According to one of the soldiers on duty at the portal of the deputy prosecutor’s office, since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 30 citizens are taken to court every day. This figure sometimes increases to 50 per day.

According to Article 638 of the Islamic Penalties Code, those who publicly act against prohibitions (haram acts) is sentenced to between 10 days to 2 months of imprisonment and74 lashes.

According to the law of Islamic penalties, breaking the fasting is a part of the same law.

Figures indicate, people who are arrested for the first time accused of eating in public in Ramadan or cook and sell food inside cafes or restaurants have usually been condemned to flogging or 10 days to 2 months of imprisonment. Their stores have also been temporarily sealed.

According to research carried out at Rasht, the members of the Basij, the policemen or in some cases the Revolutionary Guards deal with those who eat in public while in Tehran it is the judicial officials who deal with the people under the supervision of a judge.

That is why this has caused abuses in this city. The police or the Basidj mdmbers take advantage of their position to challenge the citizens by accusing them of eating in public and demanding money in exchange for their release. Similarly, officials who carry out the flogging sentences take advantage of these conditions.

The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor in Qazvin also announced the arrest of 90 people who were eating in public in the month of Ramadan.

“Ninety dossiers have been created for people who were eating in public in Ramadan and from these people, 20 cases were seen to on the day of their arrests,” Ismail Sadeghi Niaraki said.

Arrests under the excuse of eating in public in the month of Ramadan continues in various cities across the country.  At least 730 people have been arrested so far according to state-run media, including 590 people in the southern province of Fars, 90 in Qazvin (west of Tehran), and 50 in Urmia (northwest Iran).

Comments are closed.