Iran has reportedly sentenced three teenagers to have their fingers amputated for theft, a brutal punishment still written in the books of the country’s Islamic penal code.
According to London-based Iran International, the three miners – Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Sharafian and Mehdi Shahivand – lost their appeals to the Iranian Supreme Court this week and were later ordered to have four fingers cut off on their right hands. The boys were first tried last November on four counts of theft in the northern town of Urmia and have remained behind bars since.
It is not known when the judicial measure will be carried out and authorities have not given further details on the extent or nature of their crimes.
A report released in June by Iran Human Rights Monitor (IRM) pointed out that Rostami, Sharafian and Shahivand claimed to have been forced to confess under torture and that one of the prisoners – Rostami – was in a state of health disastrous in the central prison. Urmia and had cut his wrists in protest against his continued sentence earlier this year.
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“Article 278 of the Islamic Punishment Law, the four fingers of their right hand will be cut off for four counts of theft,” the IRM noted. “The fingers should be cut off from the bottom, leaving only the palm and thumb. According to article 667 of the same law, they were also ordered to return the stolen goods. “
As a strict Islamic Republic, amputation is legal in Iran on the basis of Sharia law, which allows “the amputation of the full length of four fingers of the thief’s right hand such that the thumb and palm of the thief. the hand remain ”- – although it remains relatively rare, the death penalty being the most common sentence handed down by the courts.
Nevertheless, it is not known how many Iranians are indicted each year by the courts, as cases are kept underground to avoid the heat from human rights defenders and the international community at large.
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Still, a number of cases have come to light in recent years.
After ignoring that it had been practiced for a number of years, it was believed to have been phased out of Tehran’s punishment arsenal in the mid-2000s, until 2008, when five criminals emerged. Convicts in the southeastern plot of the country had their fingers removed after being convicted of armed robbery, hostage-taking and shooting at police. However, they were officially found guilty of “acting against God” and “corruption on this Earth”.
Under the observation of the doctors, the right hands and the left feet of the men were removed in a “cross amputation”. According to the traditional legal decree, the right hand is amputated for a first serious offense and the left foot for a second serious offense.
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In October last year, Tehran was widely convicted of dismembering another man’s finger after convicting him of theft. Amnesty International has called the amputation, which took place in the northern province of Mazandaran, “a heinous form of torture”.
Iranian authorities have generally defended the use of punishment as the most effective means of deterring theft.