Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Flogging in Birjand: Two Young Men Were Condemned to 80 Lashes Each for Allegedly Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

Khorassan newspaper / ABF translation
July 28, 2013
Newspaper article

“[Reported by] Mohammadian – Two defendants, 17 and 19 years old, were sentenced to 80 lashes for consumption of alcohol, and another to four months imprisonment for disturbing public order.

According to Khorassan Jonubi (“South Khorassan”) [newspaper], some time ago, these two young men had [caused disturbances] and bothered several citizens on [the town of] Birjand’s Taleqani Street, after having consumed alcohol. After the police were informed and the plaintiffs pressed charges, a file was opened and the matter was referred to judicial authorities. At trial, which took place at Birjand’s Criminal Court Branch 101, one of the plaintiffs stated: “Around 7 PM, I was driving in the vicinity of Imam Reza Hospital when I noticed two young men, who were not behaving normally, pushing a turned off Pride [brand] automobile in the opposite direction, and falling down every few minutes.

I was driving in my own direction when they stopped me and prevented me from moving, and started screaming and insulting me, even beating me.” The 27-year-old plaintiff added: “Afterward, another young man who was with them and seemed to be doing better than they were, apologized and opened the way for me [to allow me to leave].”

Then the judge ordered “R. M.”, the 19-year-old defendant to take the stand and present his defense. Regarding the charge of consumption of alcohol, the defendant stated: “I accept the charge. We had had some drinks with my friend and then got into another friend’s car and insulted a few people on the street.”

Expressing regret for his behavior, he added: “I had never had alcohol before and I didn’t think it would have such a destructive effect. I apologize to every person for whom I created problems because of my drinking.” He added: “I also accept the charge of using insulting and offensive language, but not the charge of disturbing public order because I was under the influence of alcohol and committed the acts not of my own volition.”

In presenting his own defense, “M. F.”, the 17 year-old defendant, stated: “I do not accept the charges.” After being read and having understood the charges of consumption of alcohol, disturbing public order, and insulting a government employee in the course of performing his duty, “A. Y.”, the other defendant in the case, stated in his defense: “I had used pills but I had not consumed alcohol, and I request a reduced sentence.”

The judge then stated: “According to the police report, you were observed and found to be in an unstable state, moving a broken down car against the flow of traffic; that you had gotten into a scuffle with two citizens, who have since dropped the charges, and that you had insulted and bothered [as well as offended] them; that after the presence of the police on the scene, you had insulted them as well, and had refused to cooperate with them. Therefore, considering the confession, and given the other evidence and circumstances, especially the declared record, the court finds the three defendants guilty of the charges. Pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 165 and 174, the court sentences defendants “R. M.” and “M. F.” to 80 lashes each for consumption of alcohol, and, pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 609, to payment of a one-million-Rial monetary penalty for insulting government employees.”

Pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 619, defendant “A. Y.” was sentenced to four months imprisonment for disturbing public order. Given that sufficient evidence was not presented proving the charge of disturbing public order as to the first and second defendants, and that their conduct was a result of their unstable state caused by inebriation, they were acquitted of the charge.”