AMNESTY International has condemned Iran after a man was publicly flogged for consuming alcohol at a wedding when he was just 14.
In a statement last night denouncing the "cruel and inhuman" punishment, Amnesty included an image showing the young man tied to a tree while being flogged by a masked official, with a small crowd watching from a distance.
The man - identified by local media only as "M.R." - received 80 lashes in Niazmand Square in the eastern Iranian city of Kashmar on Tuesday.
Kasmar's public prosecutor claimed M.R. committed the "offence" during a wedding in the Iranian year of 1385 (March 2006 to March 2007) before a dispute broke out which caused the death of a 17-year-old.
However, M.R. was not involved in the murder and was sentenced for drinking alcohol over 10 years ago.
It is not clear why the punishment was carried out more than a decade later.
The public flogging of a young man for consuming alcohol 10 years ago, when he was just 14 or 15 years-old, highlights the inhumanity of #Iran’s justice system, one that legalizes brutality through cruel and inhuman punishments. https://t.co/8L5hvGVhGI
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) July 11, 2018
"The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities' warped priorities," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Director, Philip Luther.
"No-one, regardless of age, should be subjected to flogging; that a child was prosecuted for consuming alcohol and sentenced to 80 lashes beggars belief."
Article 265 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code states that the punishment for consumption of alcohol by a Muslim is 80 lashes.
More than 100 other offences are punishable by flogging - including adultery, assault, vandalism, defamation and fraud.
📢Iranian people call on international community to end torture and flogging in #Iran
This young man is tortured for drinking alcohol#WalkAwayNow #HumanRights@UNHumanRights @nikkihaley @AP @amnesty @hrw pic.twitter.com/qaf7kshZvV
— mahsti25 (@mahsti25metana1) July 7, 2018
Mr Luther said Iran should abolish all forms of corporal punishment.
He added: "The Iranian authorities' prolific use of corporal punishment, including on children, demonstrates a shocking disregard for basic humanity.
"The use of cruel and inhuman punishments such as flogging, amputation and blinding are an appalling assault on human dignity and violate the absolute prohibition on torture and other degrading treatment or punishment under international law.
"As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to forbid torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
"It's simply unacceptable that the Iranian authorities continue to allow such punishments and to justify them in the name of protecting religious morals."