Iran’s official ISNA news service published photographs of the public amputation of a man’s finger that took place on January 23 in the Islamic Republic. The photos released by ISNA show a bearded, blind-folded man being led to a machine that appears to resemble an industrial device or rotary saw.  Reportedly, one of his digits was severed by the executioners in the city of Shiraz, who were wearing black hoods to conceal their identity. Shiraz’s prosecutor, Ali Alghasi, vowed that punishment for crimes will become increasingly severe, even while he did not explain why. 

The news agency alleged that he had been charged with robbery and adultery in the city located in Fars, a province in Iran’s southwest.  He was also an alleged ringleader of a criminal organization. Besides the amputation, the man was sentenced to receive 99 lashes, a common punishment in Iran, as well as three years in prison.  The photographs of the convicted criminal do not reveal any emotion or suffering on his part. Even so, say some observers, he may have been drugged.
Four photographs released by the official news agency are being shared widely on social media networks. So far, no independent witnesses have come forward to verify the event.  ISNA reported that the victim of the amputation is 29 years old. His name was given only as D.H. 
The machine used by Iran to sever the man’s finger had not been revealed to the world until now, surprisingly, by the Iranian official news agency. In recent months, Iranian authorities have made more and more of a spectacle of corporal and capital punishment. FRANCE 24 reported that human rights activist Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, who is based in Norway, said that the Iranian government seeks to instill fear among Iranians as the presidential election approaches and thus prevent public protests.
On January 20, two thieves were hanged in public in Tehran, the Iranian capital. Thanks to evidence recorded by a CCTV camera, the pair was convicted of robbing a man at knifepoint and stealing the equivalent of 20 euros.
 Amputation, scourging, and even death by stoning are all legal forms of punishment under sharia law that is enforced punctiliously by Iran’s Islamic government.  In recent years, men accused of having engaged in homosexual acts have been hung publicly in accordance with Muslim law.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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