Islamic State militants publicly flogged a man for insulting the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to Iraqi news reports.
The Sotaliraq news site quoted anonymous eyewitnesses in Al-Zab, west of Kirkuk and north of Tikrit, as saying that a young local man had been given 40 lashes.
The flogging was part of a series of violent practices carried out by Islamic State (IS) gunmen in order to subdue the local population, locals said. The militant group were said to be punishing local residents whom IS deemed had violated its implementation of Shari'a law. However, the flogging and other incidents had increased local resentment against the militant group, locals were reported as saying.
"[IS] has resorted to flogging offenders and those who are disobedient as part of its barbaric practices in order to break their morale and get them under control," a witness was quoted by Sotaliraq as saying.
IS gunmen overran Al-Zab and other areas west of Kirkuk in June. Since that time there have been a number of reports of the group using extreme violence against the local population.
In November, IS militants reportedly publicly executed two young men in the central market in Al-Zab. The victims were accused of cooperating with the Iraqi security forces.
In September, the National Iraqi News Agency reported that IS militants had executed an engineer in Al-Zab.
There have been numerous reports of IS militants carrying out public floggings, amputations, and executions in the areas under their control in Syria and Iraq. The "crimes" for which the group has administered public floggings in the Syrian town of Raqqa include failure to comply with the group's ban on music, singing, or smoking.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk