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Watchdog

Iran Sentences Two To Death For Drinking Alcohol

A public execution by hanging in Tehran in 2010 (file photo)
A public execution by hanging in Tehran in 2010 (file photo)
Two Iranians have been sentenced to death for drinking alcohol.

The ISNA news agency, in a report published in the "Donya-E-Eqtesad" daily, quotes Hassan Shariati, the judiciary chief of northeastern Khorasan-e Razavi Province, as saying the two people -- who are unidentified -- were repeat offenders.

They had previously been convicted of drinking alcohol twice and lashed 80 times each.

Shariati said the death penalty for the third conviction had been upheld by Iran's Supreme Court.

"We will not show mercy in alcoholic beverage offenses," he said, "and we will sentence the offenders to the harshest letter of the law.”

Executions for violations of Iran's alcohol laws are believed to be rare, however.

Iran's "Shargh" daily reports that the last time an execution was ordered for a repeat offender of the country's alcohol laws, in 2007, the sentence was overturned after the convict expressed contrition.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, under Shari'a law, alcohol consumption has been strictly forbidden in Iran. That hasn't stopped the smuggling of a reported 60 million to 80 million liters of alcohol into the country each year, however.

Alcohol is readily available on the black market, despite the severe penalties.

Iran's police chief, Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, is quoted as saying that Iran has some 200,000 alcoholics.

Only members of Iran's Christian minorities are exempt from alcohol laws, but they are required to drink behind closed doors.

As RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari and Mohammad Zarghami reported last week, consumption of alcohol is on the rise in Iran, with the amount of confiscated alcohol increasing by 69 percent in the past year:

Mostafa Eghlima, the head of Iran’s Social Work Society, suggests that drinking alcohol is a means of escape for some Iranians.

"Alcoholic drinks are just one type of tranquilizer," he says. "We live in a society where there is economic pressure, social problems, and high inflation. People escape with alcohol to alleviate the pain.”

The head of the Health Ministry's Policy Making Council, Bagher Larijani, warned last month about "worrying" reports from hospitals and physicians over high alcohol consumption in southern districts of Tehran where poorer families reside.

Other crimes punishable by death in Iran are murder, rape, armed robbery, and drugs trafficking.

According to Amnesty International, Iran executed at least 360 people in 2011, most of them for drug-related offenses.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: George from: US
June 26, 2012 00:32
This report is nonsense. Well, how about all the known innocent people who have been executed in Texas?
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 26, 2012 11:01
This website is about the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, Russia and the Balkans.
If you find Texas somewhere in these places, your comment would certainly be justified.
(no offense intended)
There is no mention of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand,
Bangladesh, China, the Palestinian Authority, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Taiwan, and many others, either.

by: Papa from: UAE
June 27, 2012 08:17
This is a disinformation for people, they can jail for the alcoholic case or put a fine. but not death sentence.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
June 27, 2012 14:20
Are you a stooge of the rump republic of NATO minion?

by: Jtownjohn from: Johnstown
June 28, 2012 19:53
One good thing about this and Iran. With all their laws of religion Allah no longer has to make judgements on peoples wrongs. How do you sentence someone addictted to alcohol to death. That is like sentencing some one with liver disease to death. This is about the power of Imams and not about Allah or Islam ands definitely not about the Human being. Gods temple.

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