ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish singer Peyman Mirzazadeh was given 100 lashes in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province after being convicted of drinking alcohol and “insulting Islamic sanctities.”
He was also sentenced by a court in the city of Urmia to two years in prison in a separate case on charges that included collaborating with an opposition group.
According to Amnesty International, the flogging was carried out on July 28 and left the singer in agonizing pain with a severely swollen back and legs. He is currently on a hunger strike in protest of his treatment and sentence.
The international human rights watchdog said the episode “highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality.”
“It is appalling that Peyman Mirzazadeh was subjected to such an unspeakably cruel punishment, said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“He is a prisoner of conscience detained merely for exercising his freedom of expression and the Iranian authorities must release him immediately and unconditionally.”
Luther charged, “There can be no justification for carrying out flogging, which amounts to torture and is therefore a crime under international law.”
He added that Iran, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is legally obliged to abolish the practice as well as other forms of corporal punishment such as amputations and blinding.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that Mirzazadeh was arrested in December 2017 for singing Kurdish revolutionary songs and was subsequently sentenced by a court in Urmia to 6 months of imprisonment on charges of “propaganda against the state.”
He was released in June 2018 after completing this sentence but was arrested again in February 2019 and has been in prison ever since.
Editing by John J. Catherine