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Judicial CP - June 1956

Cyprus Mail, 19 June 1956

Flogging for over-charging

TEHERAN -- The juicy Persian cucumber and three men in a jeep have become symbols of terror to dishonest Teheran traders.

Prices for the cucumber, just now in mid-season, are fixed at 2 rials (about two pence) each by the Teheran municipality.

This is what happens if a greengrocer squeezes three or four rials out of a customer's purse.

Three men in a jeep -- a mobile "cucumber court" -- arrive and briefly examine the charge and evidence produced by some disgruntled buyer.

If the verdict is "Guilty" (of overcharging), the Court calls up the whipping squad.

Soon fifty soldiers in two Army trucks roar up to the shop and ring round the entrance.

A doctor stands by; a bench is procured, and the shopkeeper is pinned down on it by two burly soldiers.

Fifty lashes

Sentenced is announced: "You, Abbas Teherani ... having been found guilty of charging more than the permitted price, are hereby sentenced in the name of the Shah to fifty lashes."

Then the whip falls on the shopkeeper's back a minimum of 50 times. He may also be fined and have his shop closed down.

So far half a dozen get-rich-quick traders have been punished by the lash. It has been so effective that the Municipality is considering extending this kind of rough justice to sweet shops, bakeries and groceries. It is all part of the fight to keep down the cost of living.

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