PARIS: Eight Iranian men convicted of theft and held outside Tehran are in imminent risk of having their fingers cut off, an NGO warned on Friday, decrying the punishment as “inhuman”.
The men are being held in the Greater Tehran prison waiting for their fingers on one hand to be amputated, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) said in a statement.
Three of them had been transferred from Orumiyeh prison in northwestern Iran specifically for the amputation.
It added they had been told that their punishment would be implemented once a guillotine-like device for the purpose was operational in Evin prison in Tehran.
On June 8, all eight were summoned for transfer to Evin for the amputation which was postponed for unknown reasons.
In a joint statement with the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), the ABC said it was concerned by “credible reports” that the device had now been installed in a clinic in Evin and had already been used for at least one amputation in recent days.
“Carrying out such a cruel and inhuman punishment violates the minimum standards of humanity and decency,” said ABC executive director Roya Boroumand.
“The international community can and should react urgently to stop the implementation of these amputations,” she added.
Finger amputations are permitted in the Islamic republic under sharia law, but have been rarely carried out until now.
The ABC said it had collected reports on at least 356 sentences of amputation issued since the Islamic revolution in 1979, but added the real number is believed to be much higher.
If the sentences are carried out, the men will have four fingers of their right hand cut off, according to Iran’s penal code.
The concern over their pending punishment comes as rights groups also raise alarm over surging numbers of executions in Iran at a time of protests over price rises.
According to Norway-based Iran Human Rights, at least 168 people were executed by Iran authorities in the first five months of 2022, 50 percent more than in the same period last year.