Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Television Actor Flogged for "Acts Incompatible With Chastity"

Hamshahri Online
Hamshahri Online / Translation by ABC
August 14, 2017
Newspaper article

Society – A well-known television actor went to the hospital after he sustained a sentence of lashing on the charge of “acts incompatible with chastity.”

The actor is accused of sexually molesting a young woman and, in a separate case, causing the death of another by driving [under the influence]. The first count stems from a complaint filed some time ago by a young woman at Tehran Province Criminal Court 1. She claims that a well-known television actor sexually assaulted her.

She presented evidence to the court which confirmed her claims. Medical experts independently confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted. In relating the details of what had happened to her to the judge, the young woman said that “I’d met this well-known actor a little while ago, and he said he’d intended to marry me.”

“He even came once to ask for my hand, everything was done formally, until one night he invited me to his house for a party. At the end of the party, once everyone had left, he gave me a refreshment, but after I drank it I got dizzy. He sexually assaulted me at a time when I couldn’t defend myself.”

“That night, I got myself home with great difficulty. Afterward, though, however much I tried to get in touch, he wouldn’t answer me, and said he was going to forego marriage. This well-known actor was summoned to court following this complaint. He denied everything outright and said he was innocent, but all the evidence and witnesses were against him. The court judges issued a bail order for him, but because he couldn’t come up with such a hefty sum, he went to prison.”


Driving Under the Influence

For the few days the well-known actor was behind prison bars, he did all he could to secure bail and be released. With the help of friends, he was finally able to do so: just a few days had passed, however, when he was pulled into in an even bigger headache.

Returning home from a party late one night, the actor was in an unusual state [i.e. intoxicated] and struck a young woman in a driving accident, causing her death. However much it might seem at first that all of this was part of one incident, once it became clear that the man had consumed alcohol, a separate case for intoxication and drunk driving was opened against him and he ended up in court once more. The court is supposed to make a decision on the matter as soon as possible.


Flogging Sentence Carried Out

In an interview with Hamshahri, the young woman who filed suit against the actor gave word that his flogging sentence had been carried out and thanked judicial authorities for serving justice. “The suspect thought that he’d escape justice because he’s an actor and everyone knows him. But a fair court investigated this criminal and sentenced him for committing acts contrary to public chastity to 99 lashes, a ban from all acting work, and payment of [a special fine assessed for sexual assault against women outside of marriage]” she said.

“Despite his appeal, the sentence was upheld and he took 99 lashes in the Sentence Implementation Unit at a prosecutor’s office in Tehran. From there he went to the hospital. The court had also imposed a 200 million Toman fine [a special fine assessed for sexual assault against women outside of marriage], an amount I intend to give to help out cancer patients” she added.

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."