By Adena Nima
Iran’s Judiciary condemned a man to forced labor in a mortuary in what many deem a controversial sentence in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi.
According to the state-run ROKNA website, the 6th Branch of the Khorasan Razavi Penal Court sentenced a man to “180 hours of forced labor in a mortuary” for unintentionally shooting at a passerby with a shotgun.
Although the man who was shot did not press charges, Iran’s Judiciary charged the 28 year old shooter with illegal gun possession despite Iran’s complicated laws on shotgun ownership.
The young man was initially sentenced to six months of prison but due to the circumstances of the crime, particular social conditions, and because the suspect was a first time offender, the six month prison term was lowered to forced labor.
It should be noted that “forced labor in a mortuary” is a controversial punishment that had led protests by mortuary employees in a previous case. Mortuary workers consider such sentences as discriminatory and insulting to their job. They say that their work is not a punishment but a service to the people.
According to Islamic rites, corpses are washed or bathed in mortuaries before burial.
Earlier in 2017, the Islamic Labor Council of Behesht Zahra Cemetery Workers protested the sentence passed for a young woman who was condemned to two years of work in a mortuary for extra-marital relationship with a man. The woman was also sentenced to 74 lashes.
“Our job is a noble one and a symbol of service to the people. Such treatments violates our credibility and our work ethics,” the labor council wrote in their statement.