Press TV – Iran’s prosecutor general has said that hoarding and other illegal behaviors seen as disruptive to the supply of healthcare items at the time of a coronavirus surge in the country could entail punishments as severe as the death penalty.
Mohammad Ja’far Montazeri said on Sunday that Iran’s criminal law views any attempt to disrupt the supply of highly-needed medication and other healthcare items as a form of spreading corruption on earth, a crime punishable by death.
Montazeri said that Article 286 of the Islamic Punishment Code stipulates that any act to “disrupt the public health mechanisms” would be a “violation of the bodily integrity” of the individuals living in society.
“It is not only viewed as a crime but it faces a punishment on par with spreading corruption on earth,” said the prosecutor in response to a letter addressed to him by Iran’s health ministry.
The official said that his office would be ready to fast-track cases involving hoarding and other disruptive behaviors identified by the health ministry as illegal at a time of the surge of coronavirus cases in Iran.
The warning comes as Iran is struggling to contain the spread of a new coronavirus that began in the country some two weeks ago and more than a month after it began in central China.
Iran has become a hotspot of the infection in the Middle East region with nearly 1,000 confirmed cases and dozens of deaths.
Authorities have introduced some extraordinary measures to curb the virus, including days-long closure of schools and other places of gatherings.
The government has also ordered a ramp-up of production for protective gears needed to confront the spread of the infection, including face masks and disinfectants.