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Judicial CP - September 2001

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BBC News Online, London, 5 September 2001

World: Middle East

Mr Bean attackers face flogging

An Iranian court has sentenced two members of a revolutionary group to flogging and jail terms for disrupting a performance by an Iranian version of the British comedy character Mr Bean.

The men were among 50 activists from the hardline Ansar-e Hezbollah party who burst into a theatre in the north-eastern city of Mashhad on 27 July, according to the official Iranian news agency, IRNA.

The group disrupted the show, entitled Iran's Mr Bean, starring famous Iranian comic Hami Reza Mahisefat, beating their chests in a traditional Shi'a sign of disapproval, the agency reported.

Police had to be called to break up scuffles between the demonstrators and theatre-goers, in which seven people were hurt, IRNA said.

'No limits'

The leader of Ansar-e Hezbollah, Hamid Ostad, was sentenced to five months in jail and 25 lashes, while his accomplice, Ali-Reza Rezaie, was sentenced to 92 days in jail and 15 lashes, Judge Mohammad Shams-Gilani told IRNA.


"Both were tried for (the crime) of disrupting the social order," the judge was quoted as saying.

Judge Shams-Gilani said: "This group knows no limits and they do everything they like. We will take action against any destructive groups," the agency reported.

The judge told IRNA that police want to question 10 other members of Ansar-e Hezbollah in connection with the case.

Ostad and Rezaie have 20 days in which to appeal against their sentences, he said.

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Ananova UK, 7 September 2001

Boy, 14, flogged in Iran for drinking alcohol

A 14-year-old boy was among five youngsters who have been flogged in public in Iran.

The five youths, aged between 14 and 25, had been convicted of alcohol-related offences.

They received 80 lashes each, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports.

The boys had stopped cars and assaulted their occupants while drunk in the town of Shandiz, 490 miles northeast of Tehran.

Drinking alcohol is illegal under Islamic law and lashes are the standard punishment. However, it is unusual in Iran for boys as young as 14 to be flogged in public.

Public flogging has recently become an issue in the struggle between reformists and hard-liners in Iran.

President Mohammad Khatami, the lead reformist, has condemned it as harmful to Iran's international image and questioned its value as a deterrent.

But the conservative judiciary has stepped up its use of flogging as a sentence, saying it is an effective punishment.

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