An Iranian man who has been punished three times for drinking alcohol in violation of Islamic strictures now faces the death penalty, Radio Free Europe reported Feb. 7.
The man, identified only as Moshen, was ruled to be a “hardened and incorrigible drinker” by a court in Tehran and sentenced to death.
An individual caught drinking alcohol four times can be put to death under Iran's interpretation of Islamic law. First offenses are usually punished by fines, jail time or flogging. “If someone drinks twice and is punished for it on each occasion, he should be executed on the third offense,” said a judge at Tehran's criminal court, Jalil Jalili.
Iranian defense lawyers, on the other hand, say that executing people for drinking violates the nation's international treaty obligations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“According to the ninth article of the Iranian Civil Code, we can say that these [international] agreements are a part of domestic laws and cannot be ignored,” said lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. “In this context, we can say that handing down the death penalty for drinking alcohol is questionable.”