An Iranian prisoner has had four of his fingers amputated after being accused of stealing five sheep from a farm owned by a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a charge the man denies.

The Iran Human Rights organization said the sentence to cut off four fingers from the hand of a 34-year-old prisoner, identified only as Yousef T., was carried out last summer in the central prison of Qom, central Iran. It was not previously reported.

According to an informed source cited by the organization, Yousef T. insisted on his innocence throughout the 13 months he was detained in prison before the sentence was carried out. The man was a builder working at the farm when he was accused.

“Amputating a man’s fingers for the alleged theft of a few sheep by a corrupt regime whose officials compete in billion-dollar thefts and embezzlement, demonstrates the utmost cruelty and immorality of this system,”
said Mahmud Amiri Moghadam, the director of the Iran Human Rights organization.

Mahmud Amiri Moghadam, the organization’s director, added: “[Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, the officials, and the judges of the judiciary, as well as the executors of these medieval sentences, must be held accountable for such crimes.”

Under Islamic law enforced in Iran, repeat offenders face amputation of their fingers for theft. Despite widespread criticism, the sentence of amputation for theft continues to be carried out regularly in Iranian prisons.

Diana Eltahawy, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, has described the punishment as “a horrifying display of the Iranian authorities’ assault on human rights and human dignity.”

The D.C.-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) says it has collected reports on at least 356 sentences of amputation issued since the 1979 revolution, adding that the real number is believed to be many times higher.

Source » rferl