Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Flogging in Tehran: More than 200 people were flogged for participation in a private party

Iran newspaper
July 4, 2002
Newspaper article

According to the newspaper report, on December 31, 2000, some men and women, most of them young girls, entered the A. S. P. building in the northwest of Tehran to participate in the New Year's party of a rich man. They had no idea that agents of the Headquarters for Combating Special Crimes kept them under surveillance.

A few hours into the party, a shocking operation was ordered by the agents and a group of them stormed into the rich man's 120-meter apartment located in the middle floors of the building.

When police entered the place, they saw men and women mingling and dancing together with inappropriate clothes. After a widespread arrest, it was clear that a rich man named Aliakbar arranged this party under the pretext of the birthday party for his son, Ali. There were four known TV figures and three high ranking diplomats of an embassy among the guests.

On January 6, 2001, the Court House of Tehran Province issued an announcement in this regard. It announced the establishment of the Headquarters for Combating Special Crimes to confront spreading corruption and some banal cultural symbols in the capital city and states: "In this party, 241 people, 135 girls and 106 men, mostly young girls and boys, were arrested. Most of them did not know the landlord. Among the arrestees there are some foreigner businessmen, two diplomats of an embassy, two European women, and some people with previous convictions for immoral crimes. Based on investigations, this place was used by the landlord and his two sons as a singles' place for immoral acts and their living place was located in a different section of the building."

According to the newspaper report, after some follow up by the police and expert investigators, it was clear that many of the participants were girls under 18 years old. Their families pressed charges against the landlord for deceiving their children. Also some women pimps who brought under aged girls collectively to the party were identified. The agents of Special Crimes found out that some of the participants were not aware of the mixed nature of the party and there were several husbands and wives and brothers and sisters among the arrestees.

After the police investigation was completed, the case of the A. S. P. nocturnal party was sent to a branch of the judiciary. After all defendants were tried, the judge condemned most of them to lashes and paying fines instead of imprisonment for debauchery. Party masters were condemned to imprisonment, lashes, fines, and exile.

After the defendants appealed the rulings, the case went to Branch 9 of Tehran Province Appeal Court and the ruling was generally confirmed. The chief judge of the Appeals Court explained the rulings as, "After investigating this case, the ruling of 4 years and 4 months imprisonment against Aliakbar for organizing a debauchery party and causing corruption and prostitution was reduced to three years imprisonment and 6 months exile to another city. The ruling of the primary court on charges of using and keeping satellite dishes in which he was condemned to pay 6 million Rials fine and 20 lashes was confirmed."

The Appeal Court ruling also stated, "The ruling against Ali, son of the first row defendant, which was six months imprisonment for participation in causing corruption and prostitution was confirmed and can be carried out."

According to the newspaper report, these rulings are in the process of being carried out. Among those that have been carried out are the rulings against two famous TV stars who were condemned to one year prohibition to perform, lashes, and paying fines; and against two other actors who were condemned to lashes and paying fines.

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."