Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

20 Flogged and Fined for Eating During Ramadan in Qazvin

Mehr News Agency / Translation by ABC
Mehr News Agency
June 11, 2017
Newspaper article

Qazvin: 20 Flogged for Eating During Ramadan

Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Qazvin:

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, Hojjat ol-Islam Isma’il Sadeghi Niaraki stated: “The blessed days of the auspicious month of Ramedan are now underway, and I hope that we’ll all be able to benefit from this opportunity. May we have the chance to come to understand another Ramadan and profit from the ample things it brings.”

“As of now 90 cases have been put together for individuals who have broken the Ramadan fast. Of this number, 20 were delivered the day of arrest with the issuing of indictments to the special court branch set up for this purpose. Their charges were specially investigated that same day, and the offenders were sentenced to flogging and fines. The sentences were furthermore carried out,” added the judicial official.

Niaraki continued: “As in years past, the Qazvin court carried out a measure without parallel during Ramadan of this year, a measure welcomed by pious people and citizens alike: striking back against those who publicly ignore the Ramadan fast.”

“Per the codes and judgments of Islam, fasting is obligatory for all persons. Individuals who are for some reason unable to undertake a fast must preserve the honor of the auspicious month of Ramadan. Preserving this honor is an obligation for all, and thus all should refrain from eating in public,” The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Qazvin continued.

Niaraki reiterated that “Unfortunately some individuals engage in fast-breaking heedless of this matter. Necessary actions have been taken against such cases since the beginning days of this auspicious month. Those who eat in public will be arrested. Should the intentionality of the act be proven, cases will be drawn up against them, the charges investigated, and such people punished.”

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."