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Iranian prisoners to have fingers amputated after 'sham' theft conviction

Six men are being convicted [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2020

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Six men in Iran are at risk of having four fingers on their right hand amputated after being convicted of theft, while another was flogged for protesting.
Six men detained in an Iranian prison are being tortured and face having their fingers amputated after being convicted of petty crimes in what human rights organisations are calling "sham trials".

The inmates of Urmia Prison for petty crimes and taking part in peaceful protests are at risk of having their fingers amputated by prison authorities in an act that is being described as "unspeakably cruel".

"The Iranian authorities are yet again readying their tools of torture to deliberately mutilate and traumatise people through unspeakably cruel corporal punishments," said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.

The six men who have been convicted for theft are Hadi Rostami, 33, Mehdi Sharfian, 37, Mehdi Shahivand, 42, Kasra Karami, 40, and brothers Shahab Teimouri Ayeneh and Mehrdad Teimouri Ayeneh, aged 35 and 40. All of whom were convicted between September 2017 and November 2019 in unfair trials that denied access to lawyers and were tortured into confessing their crimes.

They will soon have four fingers on their right hands completely cut off, as stipulated for certain types of robbery under Iran's Islamic Penal Code.

Rostami said Iranian authorities exhausted him physically and mentally until he agreed to sign a blank piece of paper on which Iranian police later added the details of the charges against him.

Labour rights activist, Davoud Rafiee, 45, was flogged 74 times on his back on 23 November 2020 for "insulting" the minister of labour, after being arrested for staging a one-man protest when he could not afford a birthday present for his daughter. 

"Amputation is judicially-sanctioned torture, and a serious crime under international law. We call on the Iranian authorities to immediately quash the amputation sentences, abolish all forms of corporal punishment, and grant effective remedies to victims," Eltahawy said. 

"Amnesty International urges the international community, including the EU, its member states and UN human rights bodies, to urgently intervene to stop the Iranian authorities from amputating the fingers of these six men," she added.

Eltahawy urged that officials who allowed this to happen must be held to account.

"The judicial, prosecution and prison officials responsible for ordering and carrying out such acts of torture must be brought to justice in fair trials."

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