In violation of its international obligations against torture, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s judicial system has authorized prison authorities to amputate the fingers of eight prisoners accused of theft.

The prisoners are Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Sharafian, Mehdi Shahivand, Yaghoub Fazeli, Amir Shirmard, Morteza Jalili, Ebrahim Rafiei, and one prisoner whose name has not been disclosed.

In a message leaked from prison on June 13, Hadi Rostami said he had been forced to make false “confessions” and had been accused of engaging in robberies that took place while he was already imprisoned.

“This inhuman form of punishment is a relic of the past,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “Yet the Islamic Republic has chosen to keep it in its penal code to legalize brutality and torture.”

“The government in Iran expects the international community to look the other way at a time when loud and united condemnation is urgently needed,” he added. “We should all call on Iranian authorities to join the 21st century and stop all punitive amputations.”

CHRI joins human rights organizations including Amnesty International in calling on the international community to use all diplomatic means available to stop the amputations.

In 1975, Iran ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which forbids torture in Article 7: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Yet the government in Iran chose to maintain punitive amputations when it revised its Islamic Penal Code in 2012.

Article 201 states: “On the first occasion amputation of the full length of four fingers of the right hand of the thief in such a manner that the thumb and palm of the hand remain. On the second occasion amputation of the left foot in such a manner that half of the sole and part of the place of anointing [during ablution] remain. On the third occasion [the punishment] is life imprisonment. On the fourth occasion [the punishment] is execution even [Ed. if] [the fourth] theft was committed in prison.”

Former political prisoner Arash Sadeghi tweeted that the amputations, which involve the removal of four fingers from the prisoners’ right hands, were scheduled for June 11 but postponed “because some of the prisoners disobeyed orders and clashed with prison guards.”

Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Shahivand and Mehdi Sharafian have been transferred from the prison in Oroumiyeh, western Iran, to the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary where, along with Amir Shirmard, Morteza Jalili, Yaghoub Fazemli, Ebrahim Koushki, and one other prisoner, their fingers could be amputated any day.

Source » iranhumanrights