Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Flogging in Iran: Update from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, August 2019

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
August 8, 2019

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, at least 148 crimes are punishable by flogging. The laws related to flogging are broad and encompass a wide array of acts recognized as crimes. The criminal code recognizes corporal punishment (hadd and ta’zir) for offenses such as: consumption of alcohol, drug use and petty drug dealing, theft, adultery, "flouting" of public morals, illegitimate relationships, and mixing of the sexes in public. Flogging is also used in interrogations, presumably to punish the detainee for not telling the truth. In the case of political prisoners, flogging was routinely used in the 1980s and it continues to be used to extract confessions, though less systematically.

Owing to the Iranian judiciary's failure to provide transparency and fair and open trials, many cases go unreported in Iranian media; moreover, the shame and trauma associated with corporal punishment makes many of those subjected to it reticent to share their stories. Thus, real numbers are necessarily higher than those for which Abdorrahman Boroumand Center (ABC) collects reports. Regardless, this cruel and unusual punish continues to be issued in high numbers and demands the attention of the Iranian public and human rights community. ABC has collected reports of 45 flogging sentences issued by the Iranian judiciary from January 1, 2019 through August 8, 2019 and 9 flogging sentences implemented in the same period.

Those subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment in the current year include five mid-level managers of the Northern Khorasan Province Medical Sciences University convicted of “negligence in safeguarding public property and for other financial issues” in late January; an individual convicted of theft and flogged publicly in an Iranshahr roundabout in mid-June; a man given 74 lashes in public in Ahvaz for a theft conviction in early July; and Payman Mirzazadeh, a political prisoner held at Orumieh Prison, given 100 lashes after being convicted of “insulting sanctities” and “alcohol consumption” in late July.

The number of flogging sentences issued and implemented in recent years for which ABC has collected reports are given below:

2018: 264 issued, 11 implemented

2017: 139 issued, 62 implemented