Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Public Flogging in Anar: An Underage Person, Along with Another Young Man, Flogged for Stealing Pistachio

E'temad Melli newspaper
August 2, 2008
Newspaper article

"One of two defendants who were lashed in public in Anar city of Kerman was a 17 year old boy who was arrested for stealing pistachios. The implementation of the sentence was interrupted when people objected and the mother of the boy cried out loud.

After the defendants were arrested on July 28, 2008, two court sessions were held in less than four days and the Public Prosecutor of Anar condemned Arman (Iman) and Reza to 70 lashes in public and 9 years imprisonment.

After these rulings were issued, they were carried out without prior notice to the defendants in the presence of 500 people in Mo'alem Park of Anar on August 1, 2008. First, Reza received the lashes and since people objected to the harshness of the blows, the head of the Public Court ordered the enforcer to lash more gently.

After Reza received his 70 lashes, it was Arman's turn. He only received a few lashes when his mother cried out loud and people objected to the ruling and harshness of the blows and everything stopped. The head of the Public Court stated that he was present when the ruling was carried out and doing any interview with the media depended on the order of Kerman judiciary.

Arman's mother said, "The ruling against my son was issued while he had no idea about it. They just put a piece of paper in front of him and asked him to put his finger print at the bottom of it....They did not give him a chance to appeal the ruling. I received no explanation every time I went to the court until yesterday when they told me that my son would get permission to come home in a few days and then maybe we can appeal." She also added, "There were 17 individuals arrested in this case. But only my son, who has no father and lives in a very poor family, along with two others, are in prison and the rest are released."

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."