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Cut Off Petty Thieves' Hands, Iranian MP Suggests

Iran -- a blindfolded, convicted thief at his public hand amputation in Shiraz in January 2013

Referring to the increasing robbery cases in Iran, a member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly's presidium has called for issuing verdicts to amputate petty thieves' hands.

"Sadly, we are nowadays witnessing an increase in the number of robberies in the community. The cases of petty thefts have particularly increased because there is heavy inflation in the country and the rate of unemployment has soared," Nasser Mousavi Laregani said on Tuesday, January 5.

While calling for a "decisive confrontation with thieves", the extremist representative of Falavarjan to Iran's Majlis Parliament claimed that "global arrogance" has kept Iran under the magnifying glass and questioned the implementation of the Islamic rules and regulations.

"Global arrogance" is a term that Iranian authorities often use to refer to the United States of America.

This unfair oversight, Laregani argued, has limited judges' abilities to punish perpetrators, and the verdict for amputating thieves' hands should be issued to curb acts of crime.

Laregani is calling for the establishment amputation of petty thieves' hands at a time that, in many cases, suspects accused of large-scale financial embezzlement and corruption are only sentenced to prison and restitution.

Iranian authorities can invoke the Islamic Penal Code to enforce sentences such as amputation, while corporal punishment is prohibited under international law.

The United Nations has repeatedly called on Iranian officials to stop using corporal punishment in their resolutions on Iran's human rights situation.

Nevertheless, in recent years, Iran's judiciary has used corporal punishment in many cases, such as amputation and flogging.

The World Convention against Torture, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984, prohibits corporal punishment and "inhuman and degrading treatment", but Iran is one of the few countries that has not acceded to the Convention.

In October 2019, Amnesty International's Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Saleh Higazi, said, "By carrying out this unspeakably cruel punishment (amputation), the Iranian authorities have committed torture which is a crime under international law. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and also under customary international law, Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture in all circumstances and without exception."

"Premeditated maiming and mutilation of individuals is not justice. It is a harrowing assault against human dignity. It is shameful that the authorities would attempt to present this punishment as anything other than what it is: an abhorrent form of torture," Higazi said.