Tehran authorities subjected a 25-year-old man to a public flogging Tuesday for having consumed alcohol when he was underage, more than a decade ago.
Dozens of witnesses watched as the delayed sentence—an application of article 265 of Iran’s penal code—was carried out in Niazmand Square, Kashmar. The man, identified only by the initials MR, was tied to a tree in the Square and flogged across the back by a man wearing a black mask over his face.
Iranian law Article 265 stipulates 80 lashes as a “just punishment” for Muslims who drink alcohol. More than 100 other crimes are also punishable by flogging, including theft, aggression, vandalism, defamation, fraud, adultery, extra-marital relations, homosexual sex, and breach of public morals.
The public prosecutor of Kashmar said that M.R. had consumed alcohol at a wedding where a fight broke out that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old. The prosecutor said that M.R. was not involved in the murder and that the sentence of whipping was only for drinking alcohol.
The offence took place a little over ten years ago, when M.R. was 14 or 15 years old. Not long after the boy was convicted and sentenced to public flogging, a punishment that was deferred until this week.
The human rights NGO Amnesty International (AI) denounces the case, saying the incident “highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality.”
“The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities’ warped priorities,” said Philip Luther, AI’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“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,” he said.
Luther called for the immediate abolition of Iran’s severe forms of corporal punishment.
“The Iranian authorities’ prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity,” he said. “They should immediately abolish all forms of such punishment, which in Iran includes amputation and blinding as well as flogging.”
Iranian authorities have reportedly carried out various forms of such punishments in 2018 alone, including the amputation of a man’s hand for theft last January.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome