Outrage after Iran amputates man's hand as 'punishment for theft'

Outrage after Iran amputates man's hand as 'punishment for theft'
2 min read
19 January, 2018
The victim, who reportedly stole sheep, jewellery and motorbikes, was punished for theft by having his hand amputated, causing shock and outrage worldwide.
The amputee was sent to hospital after his hand was chopped of for stealing [AFP]
Iran chopped off the hand of a convicted thief in a prison in the country's northeast.

The report from the ISNA news agency says one hand of the 34-year-old convict, identified only as Ali, was cut off by a "guillotine" in a prison in Mashhad, northeast of the capital Tehran.

It said the convict was immediately sent to a hospital for treatment.

The Thursday report said Ali was detained in 2011 for allegedly stealing sheep, jewellery and motorbikes.

Amnesty International has described the amputation as a "shocking act of cruelty".

"Meting out such unspeakably cruel punishments is not justice and serves to highlight the Iranian authorities’ complete disregard for human dignity. There is no place for such brutality in a robust criminal justice system," said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

"Amputation is torture plain and simple, and administering torture is a crime under international law. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture in all circumstances and without exception," Mughrabi added. 

Iran's judiciary uses a strict interpretation of Islamic law in handing down such sentences. Cutting off the hands of thieves, however, has been rare in the recent years.

Critics say amputations, public executions and floggings hurt Iran's image and are a flagrant violation of human rights.