A prisoner in Urmia, northwestern Iran, was sentenced to amputation of four fingers, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights group.
The 2nd Branch of the Urmia Criminal Court sentenced Arash Ali Akbari to the amputation of four fingers on his right hand for theft. The 32-year-old father was arrested in September 2019 for 16 counts of theft and was tried on July 9. The finger amputation sentence was announced on July 28 by the Urmia Criminal Court.
Arash has a diploma and works as a welder. He was deprived of the right to a lawyer of his choice.
Before this, three other prisoners, Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Shahivand, and Mehdi Sharifian in Urmia were sentenced to finger amputations.
Arash Ali Akbari was sentenced to finger amputation according to article 278 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code which calls for “amputation of the full length of four fingers of the right hand of the thief in such a manner that the thumb and palm of the hand remain.”
Though Iranian officials are involved in huge known embezzlement and corruption cases, Iran continues to hand down brutal sentences to petty thieves.
According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities have consistently defended amputation as the best way to deter theft, expressing regret that it cannot be practiced in public and on a widespread basis without international condemnation.
In a shocking statement before the UN Human Rights Council in October 2010, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, denied that such punishments amount to torture, claiming they are “culturally and religiously justified”.