Two Iranians, whose name have not been released, are to be executed in Iran after they were caught drinking alcohol, Hurryet Daily News reported on Monday quoted local media as saying.
Hassan Shariati, the judiciary chief of the northeastern province of Khorasan-e Razavi, where the two convicts were condemned, announced the sentence in an ISNA news agency report that was published in the Donya-e-Eqtesad daily.
This is not the first time the two individuals are caught and sentenced for drinking alcohol. Twice before they were condemned to 80 lashes each, the report says. A death sentence may be handed if a person is caught drinking for the third time,
Under the sharia law, in force in Iran since the 1979 overthrow of the Pahlavi Dynasty by the Islamic Revolution, a first and second conviction on the charge of drinking alcohol is punishable by a maximum sentence of 80 lashes.
The death sentence was reportedly validated by Iran's Supreme Court.
Last month Iran's deputy health minister described alcohol consumption in the Iranian capital as “alarming” despite the ban in force in the Islamic Republic. Bagher Larijani said he was alerted several times by medical staff in hospitals who had received patients with high blood alcohol concentrations.
Since the Islamic revolution in 1979 the consumption, manufacturing and trading of alcohol in any form is banned throughout the Islamic Republic. Only non-Muslim minorities are allowed to produce alcoholic beverages for their own private consumption and for religious rites.
Between 60 and 80 million litters of alcohol is smuggled into Iran every year. The market of alcohol is estimated at $ 730 million per year.
There are approximately 200,000 alcoholic cases in Iran. Larijani added it was more important to deal with the issue of alcohol than with other diseases like “diabetes, heart illnesses and vascular problems.”