The Iranian government publicly flogged a young man, identified only as “M.R.”, 80 times on his back on Tuesday for committing the crime of drinking alcohol during a wedding ceremony when he was 15, over ten years ago.
It is reportedly unclear why the punishment was carried out on Tuesday and not any other time in the past decade.
According to Amnesty International, the public flogging took place at Niazmand Square in Kashmar, located in Iran’s Razavi Khorasan province.
An image of what is believed to be M.R.’s flogging has been used by various media outlets. It shows the young man tied to a tree with rope and a towel, his bare back covered in long, painful, red marks from the lashing.
"The public flogging of a young man convicted of consuming alcohol when he was just 14 or 15 years old, more than a decade ago, highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality" https://t.co/ywJxeLt5RX
— amnestypress (@amnestypress) July 11, 2018
“The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities’ warped priorities,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said in a statement issued on the human rights organization’s website.
“No one, regardless of age, should be subjected to flogging; that a child was prosecuted for consuming alcohol and sentenced to 80 lashes beggars belief,” Luther said.
Article 265 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states any Muslim that violates the law by consuming alcohol will be punished by receiving 80 lashes.
The prosecutor handling M.R.’s case reportedly said the “offense” took place in the Iranian year of 1385 (March 2006 to March 2007). M. R. was reportedly born in the Iranian year of 1370 (March 1991 to March 1992) and he was sentenced to the flogging ten years ago in 1386 (March 2007 to March 2008).
Last year, an Iranian woman, identified by the initials “S.T.”, was publicly flogged 100 times in the city of Golpayegan in the Iranian state of Isfahan for an alleged extramarital affair that took place four years earlier.
In 2015, Iranian poet and activist Fatemeh Ekhtesari was reportedly sentenced to 99 lashes and an 11.5-year prison term for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex.
In 2014, Iran sentenced six Iranians, three men and three women, to 91 lashes for dancing to Pharrell’s song “Happy”.
A court in Iran’s southern province of Bushehr reportedly handed out a unique sentence to a bird poacher this week. According to the Trend News agency, Hossein Delshab, the head of the provincial office of Department of Environment (DOE), ordered the unnamed bird poacher him to supply wild birds with 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of fresh water per week during the summer and demanded he provide the water for the birds once a week at designated sites.
Iranians have been rioting against the Iranian government over water shortages and lack of access to clean, safe water. In the city of Khorramshahr, in Iran’s southwest near the Iraqi border, residents have been without drinkable water for weeks.