Thief's Fingers Chopped Off in Islamic Punishment in Iran

Iran has amputated a young man’s fingers, despite calls for leniency from surgeons and human rights groups.

Twenty-eight-year-old Morteza Jalali, a convicted robber, had four fingers amputated by a guillotine-type device installed at Tehran’s Evin Prison. He is the most recent victim after reports from Amnesty International confirmed the amputation of the fingers of Pouya Torabi on July 27 and Sayad Barat Hosseini on May 31. Amnesty says Sayad Barat lost consciousness due to pain and blood loss and suffered an infection. He has been held in isolation since.

World Medical Association’s president, Dr. Heidi Stensmyren, said, “Information we have seen from Amnesty International that the chief doctor at the prison medical clinic was present at recent amputation sentences being carried out. It is horrific that any doctor should be involved in any such punishments, and it is equally despicable that a place where these acts of torture are occurring should be called a medical clinic.”

Mohammad-Hussein Doroudi, the chief prosecutor of Iran’s Khorasan Razavi province, stated, “The judiciary does not show mercy to those who break the norms of the society and disrupt the public order.”

According to Islamic Law, there are seven hudud crimes: apostasy, transgression, theft, highway robbery, adultery, slander, and drinking alcohol.

The Quran states in Al-Ma’idah (chapter 5) verse 38: As for the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent (punishment) from Allah. And Allah is exalted in might and wise.

Iraj Fazel, head of the Iranian Association of Surgeons, called on the judiciaries not to amputate, calling it “worrying and horrifying.”

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “With impunity rife in Iran, more and more people will be subjected to this unspeakably cruel punishment unless the international community takes action.”

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