Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Senior judiciary official defends chopping off robbers' hands

October 26, 2010 | 11:47 am

An Iranian authority is proud to use a particularly severe form of corporal punishment against property criminals. 

Iran's deputy chief judiciary official Ebrahim Raisi came out swinging in support of chopping off robbers' hands, Iranian state radio reported Tuesday.

His remarks come in response to an incident earlier this week in which two prisoners convicted of theft reportedly had their hands removed in the Yazd province central prison.

Raisi praised such punishments in flowery religious terms.

“Thanks to the blessing of the Islamic Revolution, carrying out the divine punishment has been practiced since the establishment of the revolution," he said, according to state radio.

"We aim to exactly carry out the Islamic laws in the judiciary," he said. "It is one of our biggest honors to carry out divine punishment. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of our judiciary in comparison with other judicial systems [in the world] is that we want to carry out Islamic rules."

Severing the hands of repeat offender thieves is a common punishment in the Islamic Republic. While most governments in the region find this punishment medieval, it is carried out in accordance with Iranian courts’ interpretation of Islamic law.

Raisi added in defense of the brutal penalty, “On theft I should say that every judge make a decision based on the conditions that have been outlined in the laws, the Islamic penal laws, jurisprudence and Islamic Shariah. When it is proved to the judge that the divine punishment should be carried out, it will be definitely done." 

-- Alexandra Sandels and Patrick Gallagher in Beirut