File photo of a prisoner being amputated by a guillotine-like device in Iran

Iranian Finger Amputations Continue Against International Law

Thursday, 02/08/2024

Iran’s judiciary has amputated the fingers of a 35-year-old man for allegedly stealing five sheep from a farm belonging to an IRGC member as the medieval practice gains pace. 

According to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRNGO), the amputation was carried out last July in the central prison of Iran’s religious city of Qom, the revelation showing a parallel rise in both executions and amputations over the last year.

“The amputation of a man’s fingers for stealing a few sheep by a corrupt system whose officials compete with each other in stealing and embezzling billions of dollars shows the extent of the Islamic Republic’s cruelty and immorality,” said IHRNGO Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

According to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre, since January 2000, the Iranian authorities have amputated the fingers of at least 131 men, Amnesty International reported in 2022.

The latest victim, known only as Yousef, was working as a builder at the farm when he was arrested. “He denied the theft and insisted he was innocent throughout the 13 months he was behind bars,” IHRNGO quoted the source as saying.

Last month Ali Mozaffari, the Chief Justice of Qom Province, announced that the fingers of two prisoners who were sentenced to amputation for theft were cut off and warned more cases would follow, in spite of its contravening international law. 

It comes as Iran's execution rates are also surging. Amid the worst national uprising since the founding of the Islamic Republic, crackdowns on dissent have seen record numbers of executions, the United Nations citing more than 800 in 2023 alone.

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