Iran's Human Rights Organization (IHR) announced on Thursday, July 9, that authorities have executed a prisoner in Mashhad Central Prison for "drinking alcohol."
Citing the prisoner's attorney, the Norway-based IHR confirmed that the man was hanged early Thursday, without giving his name. Some Iranian activities on social media said his name was Morteza Jamali and he had two children.
"My client was arrested and convicted of drinking alcohol for the sixth time. Of course, there was also the issue of driving without a license and having alcohol," Hossein Habibi Shahri told IHR.
The Islamic Republic official sources have not yet confirmed or denied the news. Drinking alcohol is a crime in the clergy-dominated Iran, but executions for use of alcohol are rare. Iran is notorious for hanging drug smugglers, murderers and some political prisoners.
The execution has led to a strong backlash on Iranian social media as many users say that large corruption cases and extrajudicial killings of protesters go unpunished or end in light sentences while drinking brings the death penalty.
IHR director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said, "With this execution, the Islamic Republic's judicial system has once again proven that its views are no different from those of ISIS."
Based on the 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.
"This is one of the few recorded executions for drinking alcohol in Iran. Due to the lack of transparency in the Islamic Republic's judiciary, most executions in Iran are not declared officially by the authorities," IHR statement said on Thursday.