Comment by UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson Regarding Eight Prisoners at Risk of Finger Amputation
We are deeply concerned by the likely imminent amputation of the fingers of eight men convicted of burglary in Iran and urge the Iranian authorities to call off the planned amputations.
We also call on Iran to urgently revise its criminal penalties to do away with any form of corporal punishment, including amputations, flogging and stoning, in line with its obligations under international human rights law and consistent with recommendations of UN human rights mechanisms.
The eight individuals, seven of whom have been identified as Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Sharafian, Mehdi Shahivand, Amir Shirmard, Morteza Jalili, Ebrahim Rafiei, Yaghoub Fazeli Koushki were sentenced to “have four fingers on their right hands completely cut off so that only the palms of their hands and their thumbs are left.”
Seven of the men are currently held at the Greater Tehran Central Prison and the whereabouts of one of them, Hadi Rostami, are unknown after he was transferred from the prison on 12 June. All of them are likely to be transferred to Tehran’s Evin Prison, where reports indicate a finger-cutting guillotine was recently installed and reportedly used on 31 May to amputate the fingers of one other prisoner. A first attempt to transfer the men took place on 11 June but was halted due to resistance from fellow prisoners.
Iranian civil society organizations report that at least 237 people, mostly from poorer segments of society, have been sentenced to amputations in Iran between 1 January 2000 and 24 September 2020, and that sentences have been carried out in at least 129 cases.
Iran is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which under Article 7 prohibits torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. As the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees implementation of the Covenant, has clearly stated, the prohibition of torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment encompasses forms of corporal punishment.