Mizan News Agency, Tuesday, January 29, 2019
In an interview with Mizan, the Head of Lali Judiciary Discussed
A Professional Thief’s Multiple Priors in the Town of Lali: Multiple Thefts, Narcotics Charges, and Disrupting Public Order.
Mizan News Agency: The Head of Lali Judiciary provided details regarding a news item published on the internet entitled “The Sentencing of an individual to three years in prison and 74 lashes for being the principal in steeling a chicken”.
In an interview with Mizan News Agency’s Legal and Judicial reporter, Zangeneh, the Head of the Town of Lali Judiciary in Khuzestan Province, provided some explanations regarding the news published on the internet of the sentencing of an individual to three years in prison and 74 lashes for being the principal in steeling a single chicken, and stated: “This ruling was issued in absentia, and the defendant was not present at the trial session.”
Stating that the convicted individual has an extensive criminal record in the town of Lali, and listing his multiple convictions, he said: “The defendant in this case is prosecuted for theft. He has a record of multiple convictions for theft, narcotics, and disrupting public order.”
The Head of the Town of Lali Judiciary noted: “Pursuant to Article 656 of the Islamic Penal Code of 1996, Ta’zirat [Punishments] Section, the law provides for minimum and maximum prison sentences for the crime of theft, and enumerates the five conditions that must be present [in order for the provisions to apply].”
Emphasizing that the sentence was perfectly legal, Zangeneh stated: “In accordance with Article 137 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013, in cases of recidivism, there is an added punishment to the maximum penalty.”
[Text of verdict appears below]
Khuzestan Province Judiciary
Court Decision Number: 9709976178301108
Date Drafted: January 13, 2019
Case Number: 9709986179300070
Branch Archive Number: 970517
City of Lali Criminal Court Two, Branch 101 (Formerly Criminal 101)
Case Number 9709986179300070, before the City of Lali Criminal Court Two, Branch 101 (Formerly Criminal 101), Final Court Decision Number 9709976178301108.
[Name Redacted], whose address is Khuzestan Province, Lali, [Address Redacted].
Theft, punishable by Ta’zir [punishment]
Regarding the charge of “being the principal in the theft of one single chicken” brought against Mr. [Name partially redacted] Babadi, child of [Name Redacted], also known as [Name Redacted], born in 1991-92, literate, single, and released on bail, by the plaintiff [Name Redacted], child of [Name Redacted];
Having taken into consideration the totality of the documentation and evidence contained in the case file, including the private Plaintiff’s complaint; the Police report; the statements of Mr. [Name Redacted] as contained on Page 9 of the case file wherein he states: “…My mother [Name Redacted], got a chicken from [Name Redacted] for the price of about six thousand Tumans…”; the minutes of a face to face meeting between the Plaintiff’s father and the Defendant at the Police precinct; the closed circuit camera pictures of Keshavarzi Bank, Lali Branch (Pages 13 to 15 of the case file) described and explained by the Police on page 17; the Defendant’s express statements and admissions at the Prosecutor’s Office contained on pages 31 and 40 of the case file wherein he states “…I admit; I stole only one chicken from the Plaintiff’s store…”; the indictment issued by the Lali Prosecutor’s Office; the defendant not appearing at the Court session of January 12, 2019, in spite of having been served a legal summons to that effect; the Defendant not having presented a defense or submitted a brief; and other evidence and documentation contained in the case file;
Finds that the charge has been duly proven beyond a doubt and, therefore, pursuant to Articles 2, 14, 18, 19, 144, 160, 164, and [illegible] of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013; to Articles 360 and 406 of the Law on the Rules of Criminal Procedure of 2013; and to Article 656(a) of the Islamic Penal Code of 1996, entitled Ta’zirat Punishments (Theft from Public Places),
Sentences the defendant to three years in prison and 74 lashes, both punishments [illegible] being Fifth Degree punishments; and since, according to the Police report on page 2, the chicken stolen by Mr. [Name redacted] has been turned over to the Plaintiff, this Court shall not make a ruling regarding return of stolen property.
This ruling is issued in absentia and can be appealed in this Court within [illegible] of service hereof, and thereafter, can be appealed to the honorable Khuzestan Province Courts of Appeal within 20 days of service.
Mohammad Asgari, Presiding Judge, Town of Lali Criminal Court Two, Branch 101
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. 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."