An Iranian man was flogged 80 times in public for a crime he committed around 10 years ago: drinking alcohol at a wedding when he was 14- or 15-years-old in 2006. For some reason, the man named only as “M. R.,” escaped the punishment for a long time, and nobody knows right now why he’s being flogged years later. Records show that M. R. was arrested and sentenced around the time the wedding took place, reported the BBC.
A photo has been circulating on the internet of the man at a public square. His arms are tied around a tree, as a man in a masked uniform lashes the bare-backed man. M.R. is seen with red welts on his back, as people can be seen in the background watching the punishment. It is a graphic and disturbing photo that speaks volumes about the use of corporal punishment in Iran.
In response, Amnesty International has released a statement decrying the act.
“The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities’ warped priorities… 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.”
In Iran, citizens can be flogged for a wide range of crimes, around 100 crimes, to be exact. From theft, vandalism, defamation to fraud, each offense is tied to a certain number of lashes. Some punishable offenses are more criticized than others, including adultery, relationships between unmarried men and women, and same-sex relationships.
Twitter users have spoken out against the act, with some saying things like “Very sad to see this happening in 2018,” and others saying “The mental torture given by the Islamic Republic is worse than physical torture.”
In light of the incident, Philip Luther, the Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, urged Iran to change their policies.
“The Iranian authorities’ prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity… They should immediately abolish all forms of such punishment, which in Iran includes amputation and blinding as well as flogging.”
Iran has also been under scrutiny after reports surfaced of an Iranian woman, Maedeh Hojabri, being arrested and detained for posting videos of herself dancing on Instagram, according to the Inquisitr. Hojabri’s arrest sparked a national protest, with hashtags like #dancing_isn’t_a_crime making the rounds on social media. In response, other Iranian women also posted videos, and were subsequently arrested, reported the BBC.