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The New Arab

Iranian man flogged for drinking alcohol as a child

Pictures shared on social media show the man tied to a tree [Twitter]

Date of publication: 12 July, 2018

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Amnesty International says Iran's use of corporal punishment shows "a shocking disregard for basic humanity".

An Iranian man was publicly flogged on Tuesday after being convicted of consuming alcohol as a teenager.

Rights group Amnesty International said the punishment 
"highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalises brutality".

"The Iranian authorities' prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity. They should immediately abolish all forms of such punishment, which in Iran includes amputation and blinding as well as flogging," said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

The public flogging took place on 10 July in Niazmand Square, Kashmar, Razavi Khorasan province, where the man, known just as MR, was flogged 80 times on his back.

Iranian media outlets have posted a picture showing the young man tied to a tree as he was flogged by a masked man, with a crowd of people watching at a distance.

The Iranian authorities' prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity.

According to the Public Prosecutor of Kashmar, MR consumed alcohol during a wedding where an argument caused a fight that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old.

MR was not involved in the killing and the flogging sentence was only for drinking alcohol, the prosecutor said.

According to the prosecutor, the "offence" took place in the Iranian year of 1385 (March 2006 to March 2007), meaning MR, born in the Iranian year of 1370 (March 1991 to March 1992), would have been 14 or 15 years old.

The flogging sentence was issued 10 years ago, and Amnesty said it is not clear why the sentence was carried out more than a decade later. 

Judicial authorities in Iran have imposed and carried out various forms of cruel punishments in 2018, including the amputation of a man's hand for stealing. Offences such as theft, assault, vandalism and fraud are punishable by flogging. Acts such as consensual same-sex sexual relations and adultery, which are still criminalised in Iran, are also punished by flogging.

Article 265 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code states that the punishment for consumption of alcohol by a Muslim is 80 lashes.

As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Amnesty added.

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