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Iran Deals Death to Drinkers

Iranian officials vow to punish two repeat alcohol offenders "to the harshest letter of the law."

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By McCarton Ackerman

06/25/12

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It's brutal even for a regime with Iran's reputation. The Khorasan "justice" department has sentenced two male citizens to death for being caught drinking alcohol for the third time. The previous two sentences for the unidentified individuals resulted in 80 lashings; Iranian law allows the death penalty for a third conviction for drinking alcohol. Despite this, the country hasn't sent down a death sentence for drinking since 2007—and in that case the man was pardoned for his fourth alcohol offense when he repented. "The execution sentence for the two people who had been caught using alcoholic beverages has been confirmed and is now in process,” says Hojjatoleslam Hassan Shariati, the head of the Khorasan justice department. “We will not show mercy in alcoholic beverage offenses and we will sentence the offenders to the harshest letter of the law.” There may be plenty more of these executions and public lashings to come, because alcohol consumption is very much on the rise in Iran; Shargh newspaper reports that 26% of drivers stopped by police currently test positive for drug or alcohol use.

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