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Judicial CP - August 2007
Daily Mail, London, 22 August 2007
80 lashes for 'immoral' Iranian who abused alcohol and had sex
By David Williams
His face covered by a balaclava, an official brandishing a cane repeatedly lashes the back of a man found guilty of breaking Iran's morality laws.
Two police officers hold the legs of 25-year-old Saeed Ghanbari and another his arms to ensure there is no escape from the punishment of 80 lashes handed down by a religious court.
Traffic was brought to a halt in Qazvin, 90 miles west of the capital Tehran, as more than 1,000 men gathered behind barricades to watch the public flogging.
Some took pictures on mobile telephones, others climbed traffic lights for a better vantage point as Ghanbari was marched to the centre of the square under the watch of blue-uniformed guards carrying machine guns.
A four foot long metal bench was taken from a police van and the convicted man was made to lie on it on his stomach, his fawn checked shirt pulled-up to his shoulders to expose his back and waist.
One police officer held his hands together beneath the bench, two others gripped his legs to ensure there was little movement.
Two police officers stood-by, their faces covered with balaclavas - each to administer 40 lashes.
Both men then lashed Ghanbari, taking the cane back behind their heads to guarantee maximum impact, each stroke leaving a distinctive red mark and bruising on his back.
Several wounds began to bleed.
It was unclear exactly what his offence had been as the country's strict morality laws cover many areas, but it was reported he had been convicted of abusing alcohol and having sex outside of marriage.
The public lashings have been endorsed by the judiciary as a way of deterring alcohol abuse at a time when it is on the increase among young men but some religious leaders are said to be questioning their validity, fearing they have an adverse impact on the country's image abroad.
Although men and women convicted of flouting public morals are routinely flogged in detention centres, public floggings are considered rare.
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