While international organizations have consistently asked the Islamic Republic of Iran to end cruel punishments, the use of an apparatus that amputates the fingers of theft suspects has generated a new round of discussion.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has repeatedly urged the Iranian government to stop its practice of enacting cruel punishments. However, over the past several months, public enforcement of executions and finger amputations has caused stunned reactions.

On January 24, 2013, Iranian authorities stated, “The fingers of a 29-year-old thief who headed a gang of thieves and had several charges such as theft and illegitimate affairs, were cut off in public.”

According to ISNA, the sentence for theft was issued by Branch 122 of Shiraz Penal Court, and was confirmed by Branch 17 of Fars Province Appeals Court.

ISNA reported that A.S.H., 29, was the head of a gang of thieves. After his arrest, 47 individuals filed complaints about him, and after due process inside Shiraz judicial system, in addition to the sentence of hand amputation, he was sentenced to three years in prison for committing multiple thefts, and 99 lashes for illegitimate relations.

Sadegh Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary, has said about the public enforcement of such sentences, “If we don’t assertively crack down on such crimes, the situation would get a lot worse.”