Archive for the ‘Iranian penal code’ category

Lashing and Flogging: Islam and Iran

August 1, 2016

Lashing and Flogging: Islam and Iran, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, August 1, 2016

happy times in Iran

[D]espite all the [international] laws banning flogging, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to use these kinds egregious punishments without feeling any pressure from the media or from international organizations. This highlights the fact that Iran is actually widening its crackdown as it is receiving sanctions relief and gaining more revenue.


The ruling clerics of Iran are increasing their reliance on public flogging not only for punishing people, but also for threatening those who are violating minor Islamic and Sharia laws. 

Public lashing is orchestrated for several reasons, including to punish the person who has violated Sharia laws, impose fear in the society, humiliate the victims and cause psychological harms to the individuals.

Holding a girlfriend/boyfriend’s hand, kissing in public (even for a married couple), listening to music, drinking alcohol and wearing non-Islamic dress can all be grounds for flogging under the Islamic law of Iran. As an Iranian prosecutor, Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki, who recently arrested people for “dancing and jubilating,” said, “We hope this [flogging] will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places.”

Yesterday, according to Iran’s state-owned news agency, Tasnim, Iranian officials arrested 150 young people for being at a mixed-gender birthday party in the city of Islamshahr, close to the capital of Tehran. Young people who are arrested for attending mixed-gender parties are often fined, flogged, beaten and sometimes raped.

According to Colonel Mohsen Khancherli, Iran’s police commander for the west of Tehran Province:

“After we obtained a report about a mixed-gender party in a garden in the vicinity of Islamshahr in the west of Tehran Province, an operation was carried out by the police and another organization, leading to the arrest of dozens of boys and girls.”

He added:

“Some 150 boys and girls had gathered at the mixed-gender party under the guise of a birthday party in this garden which is situated next to a studio where unlawful music was produced and recorded. Upon arrival of the police, all those present were arrested and sent before the judiciary.”

A few weeks ago, more than 30 college students were arrested, and within 24 hours the judge ordered each to receive 99 lashes for attending a graduation party. In the last two months, approximately 600 people have been arrested, fined and lashed for celebrating.

In this video, a teenager is being lashed for helping a girl whom the moral police were attempting to arrest for wearing bad hijab. He can be heard begging for mercy.

According to Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a top Iranian cleric, Iran will not tolerate “freedom” or “having fun.” He praised the moral police for arresting and punishing those who break the Islamic laws: “Thanks [sic] God that the police questioning, investigation, court hearing, verdict and implementation of the punishment all took place in less than 24 hours.”

According to Chapter III of the Iranian Islamic constitution, Enforcement of Sentences of Flogging, Article 27:  “Flogging will be administered by a woven leather belt of approximately one meter in length and one-and-a-half centimeter in width.” The penal code goes on detailing how one should be flogged:

Article 32: Enforcement of hadd for female convicts will be carried out while the convict is in a sitting position with her body fully covered by clothing.

Article 33: Flogging for male convicts will be administered while the convict is in a standing position.  For adultery, sodomy, and consumption of alcohol, there will be no clothing other than coverage of private organs, and for qazf or pandering, flogging will be administered over regular clothing.

Flogging is banned according to international law. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture prohibit torture and “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” Various organizations within the United Nations, such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and the UN Human Rights Committee, equate flogging with inhumane and cruel punishments.

Nevertheless, despite all the laws banning flogging, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to use these kinds egregious punishments without feeling any pressure from the media or from international organizations. This highlights the fact that Iran is actually widening its crackdown as it is receiving sanctions relief and gaining more revenue.

The Real War on Women in a Nightmarish Islamic State

January 16, 2016

The Real War on Women in a Nightmarish Islamic State, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, January 15, 2016

(The “Islamic state” in the article is the Islamic Republic of Iran, our wonderful partner for peace — DM)


When it comes to executions, girls are systematically more vulnerable due to the Islamist penal code of Sharia law.

Let’s take a look at the Islamist state of Iran, which creates its laws from the legal codes of Sharia and Quran. The first type of discrimination is related to age: girls are held criminally accountable at the maturity age of 9 Lunar years. (This will automatically put girls at a higher risk of execution by the court.)

Iranian ruling politicians hold the highest record when it comes to the most executions per capita in the world. Intriguingly, in the last two years that the so-called moderate, Hassan Rouhani, has been in office, there have been more than 2000 executions conducted in Iran. That is nearly 3-4 executions a day.

More importantly, Iranian leaders are also the largest executioner of women and female juveniles. Some of these executions were carried out on the mullahs’ charge of ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity with Allah), or waging war against Allah, ifsad-i Fil Arz (Sowing Corruption on Earth), or Sab-i Nabi (Insulting the Prophet).

There are three methods of execution for women and female juveniles: 1. Stoning  2. Public hanging 3. Shooting. Some women are also beaten so severely in the prison that they die before reaching the execution. Shooting, which is the fastest method of the three for execution, has not been used since 2008. Instead, the most common method to execute women is public hanging or stoning. Some of these women are flogged right before they are hanged. Public hanging not only imposes fears in the society but also aims at dehumanizing and controlling women as second-class citizens. According to the Islamist penal code of Iran, women offenses are classified as: Hadd, Diyyih, Ta`zir, and Qisas.

Some of these women are stoned for adultery. But even in stoning, the Islamists and Sharia law differentiate between men and women. Women are buried to the neck while men are buried to the waist. This allows some men to be capable of running away from the stoning, while women do not have a chance for survival, at all. If women are still alive after hours of stoning, a large block normally is smashed over their head.

Women from ethnic and religious minorities, as well as political dissidents, have also been targets of these executions. Based on the latest report, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N.’s special “rapporteur” on human rights in Iran, pointed out that executing individuals from religious and ethnic minority groups are carried out because those victims were “exercising their protected rights, including freedom of expression and association…..When the Iranian government refuses to even acknowledge the full extent of executions which have occurred, it shows a callous disregard for both human dignity and international human rights law.”

In the latest report, Amnesty International announced: “Execution of two juvenile offenders in just a few days makes a mockery of Iran’s juvenile justice system.” And the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Iran and warned about the rise of executions in Iran which “reflect a worrying trend in Iran….Over 700 executions are reported to have taken place so far this year, including at least 40 public, marking the highest total recorded in the past 12 years.”

In many of these cases related to women and female juveniles, it is clear that they were executed for either self-defense against forced marriage or a rapist, or for charges such as freedom of expression. They often are forced to marry at a very young age to an older person, or someone they do not like, such as in the case of the child bride, Farzaneh (Razieh) Moradi – who was forced to marry at the age of 15 and was executed in the city of Esfahan. These women were beaten and raped, repeatedly, by their spouses or relatives until they could not take it anymore and defended themselves. Some of these girls are being imprisoned and executed based on the fabricated charges of possessing opium. For example, in the case of the 16-year-old Sogand, the police found opium in her father’s house, but because there was no one at home except her, they arrested her. She is still in prison as none of her family members have come forward to save her life.

Some of these executions are based on the issue of “honor.” For example, some of these girls follow their hearts and fall in love with someone they choose themselves. But since their brothers and fathers disagree with this, the females get punished. For example, in the case of Mahsa, a seventeen-year-old, her brothers are the ones seeking her execution. In addition, if an Iranian Muslim woman has sex with a Christian or Jewish person, she will be executed (but a Muslim man is allowed to have sex with non-Muslim women).

Some of these girls are raped, repeatedly, in the process of investigation and forced into “Sighah”- the Shiite Islamist law of temporary marriage – with a cleric, or a member of Etela’at (intelligence), or Revolutionary Guard Corps before they are executed. Amnesty International previously pointed out that there are a “considerable” number of reports regarding this issue.

While the West is looking to lift sanctions against Iranian leaders in a few days and normalize ties with Iran, it is critical to look at the egregious human rights violations that this country is allowing. Is being silent and turning a blind eye to these human rights abuses appropriate? Doesn’t normalizing ties with the Iranian leaders and releasing billions of dollars to them, facilitate their efforts of executing more people, including women and child girls?


Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.

Cartoon of the day

August 12, 2015

H/t Joopklepzeiker