The photos published by the Iranian Press Agency
, appear to show a public amputation. According to The Telegraph
, the sweatsuit-clad prisoner in the photo was convicted of theft and adultery by a court in the southwest city of Shiraz, last Wednesday. France24
reports he was also accused of leading a criminal organisation.
Three masked executioners dressed in black are shown implementing the grim sentence. Two hold the blindfolded prisoner's right hand in a vice while the third operates a wheel that turns the guillotine device .
notes that the prisoner shows no signs of pain in all of the photos, suggesting he may have been drugged.
reports that the prisoner was also sentenced to three years in prison and 99 lashes of the whip after fingers from one hand had been cut off. France24
comments: "No independent witnesses were able to recount the circumstances under which this amputation took place."
According to The Telegraph
, following the public amputation, Ali Alghasi, Shiraz district's public prosecutor, issued a stern warning to criminals, saying that severe sentences under Iran's Islamic penal code would become severer still.
reports that Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, a spokesman for Iran Human Rights, said incidents of public executions tend to increase as elections draw near. He told France24
: “We have noticed that the authorities have recently being making more and more publicity surrounding cases of corporal punishment. Every time we get closer to an election, the number of these incidents increases. And we’re getting quite close to the presidential election [slated for June]. I believe this is a strategy to instill fear in the population so as to avoid any protests.”
The Huffington Post
reports that in 2008, the Iranian ambassador to Spain spoke in defense of Iran's use of amputation as punishment. He said amputations under Iran's penal code could be compared to its use in medical surgery to stop spread of gangrene.
The ambassador Seyed Davoud Salehi reportedly said: "Our laws allow for the amputation of the hand that steals. This is not accepted by the West, but the field of human rights should take into account the customs, traditions, religion and economic development."
International human rights groups have persistently deplored Iran's human rights record, pointing out that public execution by various Medieval procedures such as stoning, torture, flogging and amputation, are carried out regularly.