Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in front of other prisoners, in a possible step towards restoring the punishment to common use and carrying it out in public, state radio reported today.
Cutting off the hands of thieves – allowed under the Iranian judiciary's strict reading of sharia law – has been rare in Iran in recent years, but the amputation was the second this month. A week ago, a judge ordered the same punishment for a man who stole from a sweet shop, though he can still appeal against that ruling.
The 32-year-old convict whose hand was cut off at a prison in the central city of Yazd had committed four robberies and other crimes. Iranian state radio did not elaborate or identify the prisoner by name.
There were no details on how the punishment was carried out. There have been conflicting reports in the past, with some saying amputations were done in the early 1980s without medical supervision. A recent news report said they would now be carried out with anesthetic.
At least they are now using anesthetics. Does this mean the Iranian criminal justice system is becoming soft?