UN Condemns Flogging of Young Iranian Men and Women

May 31, 20160 comments

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

We condemn the outrageous flogging of up to 35 young men and women in Iran last week, after they were caught holding a graduation party together in Qazvin, north of Tehran. According to State media, the students were arrested on Thursday, interrogated and sentenced by the Prosecutor’s Office to 99 lashes each and then were flogged – all within the space of 24 hours.

Flogging is prohibited under international human rights law, in particular, the Convention against Torture. The UN Committee against Torture, the Human Rights Committee, and UN Special Rapporteurs have repeatedly voiced serious concerns about States’ use of flogging, highlighting, in particular, its use against women, and have called for its abolition. For the authorities to have meted out this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – which could amount to torture – is completely disproportionate and abhorrent.

In another case, 17 mine workers were reportedly flogged in Western Azerbaijan province in Iran this month for protesting the dismissal of 350 workers from the Agh Dara gold mine. Last month, a woman was publicly flogged for having sexual relations outside marriage. While we do not have a reliable estimate on the use of flogging in the country, reports suggest that it is used regularly for a wide range of perceived offences.

We urge the Iranian authorities to cease the use of this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.