Four men have been sentenced to death convicted of being in a counterfeit alcohol network which led to the deaths of 17 Iranian citizens.
Masoud Setayeshi, Iran's judiciary spokesperson, revealed details of the wide scale operation on Tuesday, the network's distribution having led to the poisoning, blindness, and disability in 191 other Iranians.
Eleven defendants were charged with "corruption on earth" for distributing toxic and hazardous methanol-laced substances, a charge which often carries the death penalty, though only four were sentenced to death. Others in the gang were charged with one to five year prison terms.
For decades, Iran has grappled with alcohol poisoning due to the consumption of counterfeit alcoholic beverages, resulting in fatalities, blindness, and severe injuries. Despite the Iranian regime's strict ban on alcohol, a recent survey by Iran Open Data revealed that half of all adults continue to regularly consume alcohol, often resorting to homemade beverages to evade the prohibition.
In recent months, Iranian cities have witnessed a concerning surge in alcohol poisoning cases, leading to hospitalizations and deaths, as reported by local news outlets.
A 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Iran ninth out of 189 countries in terms of alcohol consumption per capita, underscoring the persistence of alcohol consumption despite the government's ban.