Vice Squad
Sunday, February 10, 2008
One Sane Move in Iran

The Iranian man who was reported to be sentenced to death for drinking alcohol -- well, he was a repeat offender, and the law calls for execution upon a third drinking offense -- has been released, and this time, he didn't even receive the 80 lashes. This happy turn of events came about because of a clever, Matlock-worthy legal tactic: the scoundrel refused to come clean!

"Since the accused did not confess to drinking alcohol in front of the judge, he was acquitted and released," Judge Jalil Jalili was quoted as saying.

The same judge was quoted on Wednesday in Etemad newspaper as saying the young man, named only as Mohsen, had been sentenced to death.

"Police in a park suspected that Mohsen had drunk alcohol. They arrested him and took him to be breathalysed. The results proved he had consumed alcohol but afterwards the accused denied having done so," said the judge.

In civilized countries, a failure to confess to a victimless crime has been known to increase the sentence.

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