Arresting People for Eating in Their Cars During the Ramadan Fasting Month in Iran is Illegal
Iranian police are not legally allowed to arrest anyone eating or drinking in their car during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan without a warrant, a legal expert told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“According to a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court, private cars are considered private spaces and a prosecutor would have to issue a warrant to enter,” said attorney Mohammad Seifzadeh.
“Eating food inside a car or not wearing the hijab properly are not obvious crimes and even if a prosecutor suspects a crime, he can only issue a warrant and would then have to follow judicial procedures to prove the crime,” he added.
Ramadan, May 26-June 24, 2017, is marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset, ending with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
On May 30, Traffic Police Chief General Taghi Mohri warned that during Ramadan, drivers and passengers could be arrested for not wearing the hijab properly or eating or drinking in public.
“It’s true that a vehicle is an example of a private space, but it’s not the same as a house,” said Mohri. “Therefore, citizens should observe Sharia laws inside their cars, particularly during the (Muslim) holy month of Ramadan.”
Children, people with health problems, travelers and non-Muslims are excluded from the ban on eating or drinking in public during Ramadan.
Iran’s Islamic Penal Code does not specifically prohibit the consumption of food or water during Ramadan.
It does, however, discuss “sinful” acts in Article 638: “Anyone in public places and roads who openly commits a harām (sinful) act, in addition to the punishment provided for the act, shall be sentenced to two months’ imprisonment or up to 74 lashes; and if they commit an act that is not punishable but violates public prudency, they shall only be sentenced to ten days to two months’ imprisonment or up to 74 lashes.”