(The actual title of this Article was “Implementation of radio presenter and expert, Sajjad Sadeghi’s flogging sentence”.)
Radio presenter and expert, Sajjad Sadeghi’s sentence of 74 lashes was carried out on June 27. Mr. Sadeghi had been arrested by the Information Ministry for publishing certain information regarding [a government official] receiving bribes in an oil contract. A complaint was lodged against him [for publishing said information] by Hossein Afarideh, member of Majless’ (“Parliament’s”) Energy Commission in the Sixth and Seventh Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majless), and he was ultimately sentenced in March 2020, to three counts of 74 lashes by Tehran Criminal Court Two located at the Shahid Ghoddussi Judicial Complex. The sentence was upheld verbatim by the Court of Appeals. Pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the harshest penalty, that is, 74 lashes, would be implemented.
According to a HRANA News Agency report, the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, radio presenter and expert, Sajjad Sadeghi’s sentence of 74 lashes was carried out on Saturday, June 27, 2020.
A source with knowledge of the case said this to HRANA: “Dr. Sajjad Sadeghi was arrested by the Information Ministry for publishing information regarding Hossein Afarideh, the former Head of Majless’ Energy Commission, receiving bribes in the Crescent Oil Contract, consisting of a house in [Tehran’s posh] Za’feranieh neighborhood and an apartment in Dubai, and subsequently spent three months in detention. The Court ultimately sentenced him to flogging. The Court of Appeals was supposed to convene in July 2021, but instead, had its session in June of this year without Mr. Sadeghi’s knowledge and in absentia, and upheld the lower court’s sentence. In the meantime, Mr. Sadeghi has been banned from working and writing or speaking about political matters; and now that his flogging sentence has been carried out, he is at home, bedridden.”
In accordance with the court decision that was upheld and served by Tehran Province Court of Appeals, Branch 31, presided by Judge Hamzeh Shariati, with member Judge Ali Asghar Mahdavi, Mr. Sadegi was sentenced to three counts of 74 lashes for “using offensive language, making threats, and slander”.
Applying Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, 74 lashes were to be implemented.
Sajjad Sadeghi, son of Saleh, was a presenter and expert on Radio Goftogoo (“Talk Radio”). He had also been banned from working in the State Radio and Television in June 2019. It was said that the order had been issued by the Office of the President.
Tehran Province Judiciary
Court Decision Number: 990 [Redacted]
Date Drafted: May 18, 2020
Case Number: 9809 [Redacted]
Branch Archive Number: 9 [Redacted]
Tehran Province Court of Appeals, Branch 31
Case Number 980 [Redacted], Tehran Province Court of Appeals, Branch 31, Final Court Decision Number 9905 [Redacted].
Appellant: Mr. Sajjad sadeghi, son of Saleh, whose address is Tehran Province, Tehran County, City of Tehran, Vardavard, Main street, Shahid sadeghi Alley, Number 4;
Appellee: Mr. Hossein Afarideh, son of Reza, represented by Zahra Moradian, daughter of Ebrahim, whose address is Tehran Province, Tehran County, City of Tehran, Motahhari Avenue, Mofatteh Street, Marzban Nameh Alley, Number 4, Unit 1.
Appealing from: Court Decision Number [Redacted], dated March 14, 2020, issued by Tehran Criminal Court Two, Branch 1045, located at the Shahid Ghoddussi Judicial Complex
Workflow: Having examined the documentation contained in the case file, the Court hereby declares the close of the proceedings, and issues its Decision as follows:
Regarding Mr. Sajjad Sadeghi’s appeal of Court Decision Number 981742 dated March 14, 2020, issued by Tehran Criminal Court Two, Branch 1045, Shahid Ghoddussi Judicial Complex, pursuant to which the Appellant was sentenced to three counts of 74 lashes for the crimes of using offensive language, making threats, and slander, in accordance with the provisions of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code regarding multiple crimes;
Having taken into consideration the totality of the papers and documentation contained in the case file, and given that at this stage of the proceedings, the Appellant has not submitted any valid objection or defects based on relevant evidence that would nullify the Court Decision that is being appealed from, and that no defect or flaw can be found in the lower court’s reasoning and deduction in hearing the case, issuing a sentence, observing legal standards, and due process, that the Court Decision being appealed from has been issued in observance of the rules and regulations as evidenced by the documentation in the case file, and that the Appellant’s objection does not rise to the level that would result in the judges independently acquiring knowledge as to any error in said Court Decision;
Therefore finds that the appeal does not conform to the provisions of Article 434 of the Law on the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Consequently, the Court, pursuant to Article 455(a) of the aforementioned Law, rejects the appeal, and confirms and upholds the Court Decision being appealed. This Decision is final.
Presiding Judge, Tehran Province Court of Appeals, Branch 31
Member Judge, Tehran Province Court of Appeals, Branch 31
Ali Asghar Mahdavi
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."