Man ‘flogged for drinking alcohol as a child’ in Iran, Amnesty claims

An Iranian man was flogged after being convicted of drinking alcohol a decade ago while still a teenager, a rights group has claimed.

The young man, identified as MR, was publicly whipped 80 times while tied to a tree in the city Kashmar, in north-eastern Iran, Amnesty International said.

He was accused of drinking alcohol at a wedding more than 10 years ago, it cited public prosecutors as saying, but it was not clear why the sentence was carried out so long after the alleged crime.

At the same wedding a fight took place that left a 17-year-old boy dead, according to Iranian media, but MR was not suspected of involvement.

Amnesty said the “horrific” punishment ran counter to Iran’s obligations under international rights agreements.

“The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities’ warped priorities,” said Amnesty’s Middle East advocacy director, Philip Luther.

“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.

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

“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.

“It’s simply unacceptable that the Iranian authorities continue to allow such punishments and to justify them in the name of protecting religious morals.”

The Independent has contacted the Iranian embassy in London for comment.

Flogging is used as a punishment for dozens of offences in Iran. Assault and theft are among them, but so are adultery, defamation, intimacy between unmarried people and so-called breaches of public morals.

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