ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: Authorities amputate a man’s hand in shocking act of cruelty

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24 Jan 2018
[International Secretariat]

Amnesty International is outraged by reports that Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a man convicted of theft. The amputation, which was conducted by guillotine, took place yesterday in the central prison in north-eastern Razavi Khorasan province, according to the state-sponsored newspaper Khorasan News.

According to Khorasan News, the 34-year-old man was transferred to a medical centre immediately after the punishment was carried out. He was sentenced to hand amputation six years ago for stealing livestock and other valuables from several villages in the province.

“Meting out such unspeakably cruel punishments is not justice and serves to highlight the Iranian authorities’ complete disregard for human dignity.

“Amputation is torture plain and simple, and administering torture is a crime under international law. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture in all circumstances and without exception.

The Iranian authorities have consistently defended amputation as the best way to deter theft, expressing regret that it cannot be practiced in public and on a widespread basis without international condemnation. In a shocking statement before the UN Human Rights Council in October 2010, Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, denied that such punishments amount to torture, claiming they are “culturally and religiously justified”.

In reality however, a domestic movement to abolish such cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments has long been underway in Iran and many Iranians, including several clerics and religious scholars, have expressed their opposition and faced persecution in reprisal.

The Iranian authorities must urgently abolish all forms of corporal punishment and move towards a criminal justice system that is focused on rehabilitation and treats prisoners humanely,” said  Mughrabi.

In 2017, dozens of amputation sentences were imposed. In one case, judicial authorities amputated the hand of Hamid Moinee in April 2017 before executing him 10 days later after being convicted of robbery and murder.


In 2017 judicial authorities in Iran continued to impose and carry out other cruel and inhuman punishments.

For example, in January, a journalist was lashed 40 times in Najaf Abad, Esfahan province, after a court found him guilty of inaccurately reporting the number of motorcycles confiscated by police in the city. In August, a trade unionist to 30 lashes and six months’ imprisonment for participating in a protest against unjust work conditions.

In February a blinding sentence was issued against a woman in retribution for blinding another woman.

In May, a woman arrested for having an extra-marital relationship was sentenced to two years of washing corpses and 74 lashes. The man was sentenced to 99 lashes.

According to Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, between 2007 and 2017, the Iranian authorities issued at least 215 amputation sentences and carried out 125 amputations, including at least six amputations in public.

18 January 2018

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