Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amputation and Blinding

Hand Amputation in Mashhad for Man Accused of Theft

Sa'id Khalil Sajadpour
Khorasan Newspaper / Translation by ABF
October 14, 2017
Newspaper article

The Prosecutor for central Khorasan Razavi province reports that a divine hodud sentence has been carried out for a thief who broke into a gold seller’s safe along with an accomplice in Mashhad.

In an exclusive interview with Khorasan Newspaper conducted last Thursday, Judge Gholami Sadeghi said: “On the night of March 24, 2012, thieves in a Nissan refrigerator truck stopped in front of a gold seller’s shop in Mashhad’s Panjtan neighborhood. Breaking through a shutter, they entered the shop using a key in their possession and stole from a safe containing the store’s gold.” The Mashhad judiciary official continued: “Pursuant to a complaint filed by the robbery victim, a case was drawn up and investigated. Though the robbery victim suspected his own former apprentice, the broken safe was found in a neighborhood in the Golshahr area of Mashhad and bore no trace of the apprentice. Police investigations commenced with the issuing of special judicial orders for arresting the fugitive suspect and his accomplice, and about one year after the incident all involved with the theft were brought into hands of the law.” Judge Sadeghi continued: “The case was taken up by Branch 114 of Criminal Court 2. The defendants, two of whom were brothers, stood before the bench at a time that they had sent the gold off for sale in the Sistan area.”

According to the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Mashhad, one of the defendants stated in the course of confessions: “I opened up the shop myself, and one of my accomplices entered. Right at this moment the alarm went off and “E” (initial of one of the defendants) hit the remote to turn it off. At first we wanted to load the safe into a Peugeot 206, but it wouldn’t go in, so we spread out a blanket and dragged it to the cargo area of the refrigerated van. Afterwards, “M” (another defendant) came and opened the safe door in Golshahr and we took it off to Zabol.” Judge Sadeghi also made reference to the clear-cut confessions made by another one of the defendants, adding [in quotation]: “We’d drawn up the plan to steal together: the night of the incident, we destroyed the shudders and used the spare key we had to open the shop’s door and steal the gold.”

The Prosecutor for central Khorasan Razavi further stated that, “After the defendants in this case were tried across multiple court sessions and all aspects of the story were thoroughly investigated, the judicial official rendered his verdict. Per the court decision ‘MN’ (25 years of age at the time of the crime) was sentenced to hand amputation and his younger brother (22 years old at the time) to 10 years’ prison, 74 lashes, and to return the stolen property. They contested the appeal issued by the court, and through proper legal channels it was also taken up by the Supreme Court. At length, the issued verdict was upheld by the judges of the Supreme Court, and the decision in the case of the gold thieves was thus referred to an Implementation Branch of the Mashhad Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office.” Judge Sadeghi emphasized that “Immediately after preparations for implementation were made, the morning of last Thursday [12 October 2017], ‘MN’ (the young man with the amputation sentence) was readied for sentence implementation at Mashhad Central Prison with doctors, sentence implementation judges, and other relevant authorities in attendance. Thus the divine hodud was carried out for another of the thieves who, through burglary, act to disturb the order and security of the people.”

After the hand amputation sentence for the thief (now 31 years of age) was carried out, the Prosecutor for Central Khorasan Razavi said: “For the sake of the sense of public security and to combat thieves attempting to seize people’s property, the judiciary will act resolutely. Individuals who have foul thoughts of committing such crimes in mind should know that the judicial system will not be delayed, nor will it show any sort of tolerance, in carrying out the divine hodud, for the implementation of this hodud engenders a sense of peace and security in the hearts of those who believe in justice, and lays the ground for security in society.”

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."