Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the flogging of Iranian students


Reports on the sentencing of more than 30 students to 99 prompted Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner at the Federal Foreign Office, to issue the following statement today.

I am appalled by reports that more than 30 students were flogged in Iran at the weekend. Sentencing students celebrating peacefully to 99 lashes each is not just disproportionate but also cruel and inhumane. Given how quickly the court case was completed, there are considerable doubts that the principles of the rule of law were upheld. Corporal punishment is an anachronism in the 21st century. Background information:

After together celebrating their graduation, it is reported that more than 30 sentenced to 99 lashes each in the northern Iranian town of Qazvin. They were arrested sentenced within 24 hours. According to Iranian media, the “morality police” executed the sentenced immediately as a lesson to those who attempt to breach convention. They were sentenced because of their “indecent behavior”. It is reported that the students were “half naked” and had consumed alcohol. In Iran, men and women are not allowed to dance together. Alcohol is forbidden for Muslims.


Iran has today the highest execution rate in the world, per capita. Only between 22 October and 14 November, in less than a month, 100 people were executed. This is far higher than any other period in recent years. Amnesty International has raised alarm and pleaded to the Iranian government to halt executions, to no avail Last month, Mr Sattar Behesthi, a young worker and blogger was killed under torture eight days after he was arrested from his home. His ‘crime’ was that he had criticized the regime on his blog. Sakharov Prize winner Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh was on hunger strike for 49 days in prison. Many other women political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in protest to inhuman and humiliating prison conditions.

On November 27 of 2012, the Third Committee of the United Nations passed a resolution expressing its concerns in regard to systematic violation of human rights in Iran. This is the fifty-ninth resolution adopt by the U.N. regarding the human rights situation in Iran. The resolution has pointed out to the execution of minors, arbitrary arrests, torture and execution of individuals accused of being “Mohareb”, meaning the enemy of god, sexual assaults on the prisoners, political prisoners in particular, banning and outlawing public gatherings and freedom of speech, even via the internet, severe discrimination against the women and minorities and the lack of independence in the judicial system of the country.

Despite the worries of the international community in regard to the above mentioned matters, the Iranian regime, has ignored all such concerns and has banned the entry of the special human rights representative of the United Nations and other concerned individuals and organizations to the country.

The clerical regime should be held accountable and should be isolated from the international community. The adoption of the resolution, highlighting only a portion of the crimes committed by the clerical regime in Iran, underlines the need to refer this regime’s human rights record to the UN Security Council, to implement comprehensive sanctions against the regime and to put its leaders on trial.

We ask President Obama and other Western leaders to strongly condemn the violation of Human Rights in Iran, end the policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime and make the continuation of their political relation with the regime conditional on the ending of hanging and torture of the prisoners.

The administration missed an opportunity in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian sham elections to support the Iranian people in bringing change to their country. It is time to break the silence against the atrocities of the Iranian regime and to offer support to those who are working toward replacing the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran with a democratic, secular government. It is the right policy to be on the side of the Iranian people and it is also the right policy as far as global peace and security is concerned.