Iran Human Rights (IHR); February 24, 2021: A 73-year-old man facing the death penalty after being arrested for the fourth time on charges of alcohol consumption, has been acquitted and released by Branch 9 of the Tehran Criminal Court.
According to Rokna, a man identified only as Ehsan, a retired pilot with a military doctorate, was arrested for alcohol consumption and driving while under the influence of alcohol in Tehran. He was sentenced to death by Branch 9 of the Tehran Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Mohammadi-Kashkouli. According to new reports, he has now been acquitted by the same court and released.
Ehsan had been arrested for alcohol consumption on three previous occasions and had been punished by flogging each time. According to Article 136 of the Islamic Penal Code: "Where anyone commits the same offence punishable by hadd three times, and each time the hadd punishment is executed upon him/her, the hadd punishment on the fourth occasion shall be the death penalty.”
But Article 13(g) of the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as Articles 114-119 of the Islamic Penal Code give the judges the power to acquit the defendant or request a pardon for them from the head of the judiciary if they repent.
Commenting on the case, the presiding Judge Mohammadi-Kashkouli said: “The 73-year-old man was in a car accident a while ago and was arrested due to his previous convictions for alcohol-consumption and his case was referred to the Court. During his trial, the defendant denied drinking alcohol and we came to the conclusion that there was no element of crime and acquitted him and he was released.”
It should be noted that on 9 July 2020, a 51-year old man was executed for alcohol consumption for the sixth time, at Mashhad Central Prison. According to Khorasan newspaper, his “repentance” had been rejected due to the defendant’s refusal to admit to drinking alcohol.