By Mahmoud Hakamian
Iran’s Prosecutor-General has expressed regret on Wednesday that not enough people in his country are being punished for crimes with blindings or amputations because the country is trying to avoid international condemnation from human rights bodies or foreign governments.
In comments carried by the Fars News Agency, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said: “Based on Quran, God, the passionate and merciful has categorically ruled that the hands of a man or a woman if proved guilty of theft, should be amputated… Unfortunately, so as not be condemned on human rights issues in the United Nations, we have abandoned some of the divine laws.”
He then said that the Regime should not be scared of international protests against these brutal punishments because the mullahs are following Sharia law and even tried to claim that a rise in robberies was linked to the Regime not using amputations as a punishment in enough cases, rather than the dire economic situation.
While Ayoub Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) General and deputy commander of the Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic, said on Wednesday that there are roughly 200,000 professional thieves in the country, who are responsible for 60%-65% of thefts.
However, even Montazeri has been forced to admit that the severe economic pressures facing Iran at the moment, including a plummeting currency and soaring unemployment, which has led to 80% of Iranians living below the poverty line, could force even faithful, God-fearing people to resort to stealing.
Montazeri, who referred to these barbaric acts as “divine punishments”, made these comments at a time when Iran has been repeatedly criticized for this sort of retributive justice, which the mullahs believe is mandated by God.
The last known case of a hand amputation being carried out in Iran was on January 18, 2018.
Regardless of international outrage, Iran has never been reluctant to publically administer these punishments, including hangings and stonings, with officials claiming that they would “never surrender” to “westernized human rights”.
Although the numbers have declined in recent years, as shown by official statistics and Montazeri’s clear displeasure, which is likely an attempt to divert international attention away from the Regime that is struggling to survive.
Under the same law that advocates amputations for stealing, sex outside marriage, sodomy, drinking alcohol, and abandoning the Muslim faith are also subject to violent punishments.
Multiple human rights conventions, including those that Iran has signed up to, describe these punishments as “torture” and categorically reject their use.