Amnesty International is accusing Iran of demonstrating a “shocking disregard for basic humanity” after a man was publicly flogged following a conviction for consuming alcohol at a wedding he attended as a teenager a decade earlier.
The human rights organization said the man, only identified as M.R., was lashed 80 times on his back in the northeastern city of Kashmar on Tuesday.
“The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities’ warped priorities,” Philip Luther, the Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “No one, regardless of age, should be subjected to flogging; that a child was prosecuted for consuming alcohol and sentenced to 80 lashes beggars belief.”
A photo of the flogging shows an individual with red welts on his back as a crowd in a public square gathered around him to watch.
Amnesty International says the man – who is now in his late 20s – was convicted of consuming alcohol during a wedding he attended around 2006 when he was 14 or 15 years old. At the same wedding, a fight had broken out that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old, but M.R. was found to not be involved in that incident, an Iranian prosecutor reportedly said.
In Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, it says the punishment for a Muslim who has consumed alcohol is 80 lashes, according to Amnesty International. The man was sentenced to the flogging a decade ago but it was not clear why authorities waited until now to dole out the punishment.
“The Iranian authorities’ prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity,” Luther said. “They should immediately abolish all forms of such punishment, which in Iran includes amputation and blinding as well as flogging.”