Saturday, June 30, 2012

Death Penalty For Iran's 3 Strikes You're Out Alcohol laws

It doesn't take much to warrant the death penalty in Iran. You can be executed for anything from being a political dissident to being gay to drinking alcohol. Yes, in Iran, you can lose your life for drinking one too many beers, one too many times. In a 'three strikes and you're out' type of law offenders are sentenced to death, and two people are currently facing that punishment.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is trying to get Iran to end death for drinking and for "crimes that are not considered serious and exceptional under treaties that bind it," but the Iranian government isn't about to listen to some human rights organization, or anyone else for that matter. They'll continue to pop off anyone they have a problem with, including those who consume alcohol.

According to HRW the prosecutor said the two  “had consumed alcoholic drinks for the third time” and that authorities were prepping for the “ the implementation of the execution order."

HRW's Sarah Leath Whitson said,

“Sentencing Iranians to death for consuming alcohol is a scary signal of how little Iran’s judges value Iranian lives and how casually they can make a decision to end them. Iran’s courts apparently have nothing better to do than harass and even kill Iranians for engaging in dubious ‘crimes.'"

According to shariah law, alcohol consumption is a

hadd offense, or a crime against God, and receives specific punishment under Islamic law. Usually, a person caught drinking alcohol gets 80 lashes, according to Human Rights Watch. But an article in the Iranian penal code stipulates that persons will be sentenced to death on their third conviction.

If alcohol violators repent following conviction of the "crime" based on their own confessions, a court is allowed to seek clemency from the nation's supreme leader or his representatives. But if a conviction was based on witness testimony, clemency is not applicable.

Despite the prospect of severe punishment, alarmed Iranian officials warn that alcohol use is increasing.

Earlier this month, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Mesdaghinia reportedly bemoaned "abnormal behaviors such as alcohol consumption" apparently being on the rise. Also this month, Iranian newspapers said that the amount of confiscated booze had gone up by 69% just in the last year.

Is it any wonder there's a problem with alcohol in a country that is so repressive and oppressive?

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