Amputations Do Not Prevent Crime, Legal Expert Says
The Iranian Judiciary’s continued practice, under the direction of Sadegh Amoli Larijani, of carrying out amputations as a routine punishment, is not only in direct conflict with international treaties Iran has signed, it has also utterly failed to prevent crime, according to Hossein Raeesi, attorney and legal expert.
Speaking to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran following the amputation of a criminal’s hand and leg in Mashhad on August 4, 2015, Raeesi emphasized that the Iranian Judiciary has clearly not reduced crime through such means.
“The Increasing crime statistics, and the number of prisoners and cases brought to the Judiciary [despite] punishments such as limb amputations in public, especially since Mr. Larijani became head of the Judiciary, show that such punishments never prevent crime. Many Islamic thinkers concur that these kinds of punishments are not allowable,” Raeesi said.
On June 28, 2015, the daily Khorasan reported that amputations were also carried out in the Central Prison of Mashhad on two prisoners found guilty of robbery.
The Campaign has repeatedly requested that Iranian authorities end inhumane practices such as amputations and floggings. In 2014, the Campaign, along with Human Rights Watch, called on President Hassan Rouhani to include the elimination of amputations and floggings in his Citizen’s Rights Charter.
Although the Iranian Parliament ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 2003, the Council of Guardians rejected it, ostensibly on the grounds that joining the convention would increase public spending.
However, according to Seyed Nasser Ghavami, the former chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Judicial Affairs Committee, the real reason was the Council’s concern that the Islamic Republic’s membership in the Convention would mean that amputation, lashing, stoning, and other forms of punishments called for in the country’s penal code could be condemned as acts of torture.
“Iran is one of the signatories of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which is based on human dignity. Thus the Iranian government is obligated not to carry out punishments which cause suffering and hardship, such as lashings and amputations,” Raeesi told the Campaign.
In 2013, a U.N. General Assembly resolution called on Iran to “address the substantive concerns…on the situation of human rights” and “eliminate, in law and in practice, amputations, flogging, blinding and other forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”