Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amputation and Blinding

Hand Amputation in Tehran: Four fingers of the right hand of Yar Hassan Rahmati were amputated for alleged robbery

Kayhan and Jomhuri Eslami newspapers
May 24, 1984
Newspaper article

Kayhan Newspaper

May 24, 1984 

Incidents/Page 23

"Qasr Prison, yesterday morning:

Four fingers of a thief who committed more than 20 robberies were amputated. 

The thief was tried by Branch 139 of the Tehran Criminal Court and sentenced to have his fingers amputated. 

Tehran Public Prosecutor: The thief was an adult and of sound mind during the robbery and did not do it out of necessity, threat or reluctance. Yesterday morning, four fingers of the thief's right hand were amputated in the presence of the judicial representative, the accused and the convicts of Qasr prison. The thief, whose name is Yar Hassan Rahmati, son of Hassan, is 22 years old and from Kuhdasht in Lorestan. He was involved in 18 cases of theft, one case of driving without a license and other crimes. He was tried in Branch 139 of the Criminal Court and according to the Sharia conditions, he was sentenced to have four fingers of his right hand (from the end so that his palm and thumb remain) amputated. The sentence was carried out yesterday morning in Qasr Central Penitentiary in the presence of the Tehran Public Prosecutor, the ideological political supervisor of Qasr prison, the representative of forensic medicine, the head of Qasr prison and the defendants and convicts of Qasr prison. Regarding this news, Hojatoleslam Mir’emadi, the public prosecutor of Tehran, in an exclusive conversation with Kayhan's judicial reporter, said: One of the common words among people is the word social justice. Of course, all people want social justice, social security and its establishment at the community level. It is obvious that the idea of social justice in society will not advance until Islamic rules and laws are implemented. Therefore, social justice will be established in society if the divine order is implemented."

Johmuri Eslami newspaper

May 24, 1984

Page 2 

"God ruling of Hadd [religious punishment] regarding a thief, who had committed 22 robberies, was carried out in the Qasr prison yesterday [May 23, 1984] morning.

This ruling, amputation of the robber's four fingers of the right hand, was carried out in the presence of Hojatoleslam Mir'emadi, the Public Prosecutor of Tehran and the Operational and Political Head of Prisons Office."

ABF Note


Findings of guilt in the Islamic Republic of Iran's Judicial Proceedings

The Islamic Republic of Iran's criminal justice system regularly falls short of the standards for due process necessary for impartiality, fairness, and efficacy. Suspects are often held incommunicado and not told of the reason for their detainment. Defendants are frequently prohibited from examining the evidence used against them. Defendants are sometimes prohibited from having their lawyers present in court. Additionally, confessions, made under duress or torture, are commonly admitted as proof of guilt. Because Iran's courts regularly disregard principles essential to the proper administration of justice, findings of guilt may not be evaluated with certainty.

Corporal Punishment: the Legal context in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Islamic Republic's criminal code recognizes corporal punishment for a wide range of offenses: consumption of alcohol, theft, adultery, "flouting" of public morals, and mixing of the sexes in public. Judges have the latitude to mete out corporal punishment for those sentenced to death. In such cases, the flogging is carried out before death to maximize the suffering of defendant. Aside from flogging, the Islamic Republic also employs amputations as a punishment for theft. In such cases, the defendant is taken to a hospital and put under anesthesia as his hand or foot is amputated. In some cases the left foot and right hand are cut off, making it difficult for the condemned to walk, even with the assistance of a cane or crutches.

The Islamic Republic's Systematic Violation of its International Obligations under International Law

The use of corporal punishment is contrary to international law and is addressed in several international agreements. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Iran has ratified, states that, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Identical language is also used in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran is also a party to. The strongest expression of international disapproval is contained in the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). This treaty defines torture as, "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as ... punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed." Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has yet to sign the CAT, the prohibition on torture is now considered jus cogens and, therefore, part of customary international law. Furthermore, even though the norm against corporal punishment is not yet a jus cogens, there is increasing evidence that it is illegal under international human rights law.[1] In Osbourne v. Jamaica, the Committee Against Torture (a body of experts responsible for monitoring compliance with the Convention) held that "corporal punishment constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment contrary to Article 7 of the Convention." The Islamic Republic of Iran's systematic violations of its obligations under international law have been addressed by the UN General Assembly multiple times, most recently in December 2007. In Resolution 62/168, the UN expressed deep concern with Iran's continued flouting of international human rights law, particularly, "confirmed instances of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations."