During a press briefing on January 30th that was covered by Mehr state-run news agency, Jafari said, “In relation to the negligence in preserving public property and financial issues, five offending administrators at the Medical Sciences University were sentenced to flogging and the sentence was implemented.”
Other details of the case were not disclosed, and it was unclear how many lashes each person received.
Human right groups report that last public flogging in Iran was that of a man who was charged with robbery. It was the fourth public flogging sentence in one month in Iranshahr, in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
Iran does not consider flogging as torture or an inhumane punishment. Officials claim it is used to “set an example”. In fact, Aziz Akbarian, the chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Industries and Mines recently encouraged the use of flogging and execution for what he called “economic offenders”. In an interview with the state-run Alborz Radio in late December of 2018, Akbarian said, “If two people are thoroughly flogged and if two people are executed in a timely manner for controlling the market, it will be a lesson for everyone else.”
According to Amnesty International’s Philip Luther, “The use of cruel and inhuman punishments such as flogging, amputation and blinding are an appalling assault on human dignity and violate the absolute prohibition on torture and other degrading treatment or punishment under international law.”
In July 2018, Luther also said in a statement condemning the lashing of young man for drinking alcohol, “As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. It’s simply unacceptable that the Iranian authorities continue to allow such punishments and to justify them in the name of protecting religious morals.”
Flogging is a standard punishment for more than 100 offenses under Iranian law, including theft, assault, vandalism, defamation and fraud. Flogging is also used for non-criminal acts, like adultery, intimate relationships between unmarried men and women, “breach of public morals”, and consensual same-sex sexual relations.