Amnesty International has condemned the execution of a 55-year-old Iranian man in Iran for drinking alcohol as an example of the country’s "inhumane and cruel" system.
"The Iranian authorities have once again laid bare the sheer cruelty and inhumanity of their judicial system by executing a man simply for drinking alcohol," Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director of the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy said in a statement on Friday, July 10.
"The victim was the latest person to be executed in [the city of Mashhad's] Valkalibad prison, the site of numerous secret mass executions and a grotesque theatre of Iran's contempt for human life," she asserted.
Furthermore, Ms. Eltahawy noted, "We deplore the Iranian authorities' repeated use of the death penalty, which has earned it the shameful status of the world's second most prolific executioner. There is no justification for the death penalty, which is the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment, and we urge the Iranian authorities to abolish it."
Based on social media reports, Morteza Jamali is the name of the person who was hanged in Mashhad prison on charges of drinking alcohol. He was 55 years old, with two children.
Responding to widespread social media condemnations of the execution, the local judiciary on Friday and defended the verdict against Jamali. The statement widely reflected in state-owned media said the man had been arrested several times between 2007 and 2018 on charges of drinking and possessing alcohol.
Earlier, the prisoner's lawyer, Hossein Habibi Shahri, said that his client had been sentenced to death for "drinking alcohol for the sixth time" and that his sentence had been carried out on July 8 in Mashhad's Central Prison.
Based on Iran's Islamic Penal Code, a defendant can face the death penalty after being arrested and punished three times for alcohol consumption. The initial punishment for drinking is usually flogging.
In its 2019 report Amnesty International said, with 251 cases, which accounted for more than a third of the world's executions, the Islamic Republic of Iran was ranked second after China.
"Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution."