Iran orders amputation of candy shop thief's hand

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian judge has ordered the amputation of the hand of a man who confessed to robbing a candy shop, local media reported Saturday.

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency said the chief judge of a Tehran court also sentenced the 21-year-old man, who was not identified, to a year in jail and ordered him to return the stolen items.

The ruling comes days after Iranian authorities amputated the hand of another man convicted of theft in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

While Iran's hardline judiciary follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law, enforcement of punishments such as amputation are rare.

Iranian authorities occasionally issue harsh rulings in an effort to stem the spread of corruption and disorder. Critics, however, say amputations, public executions or floggings hurt Iran's international image and reflect badly on Islam.

Tehran has recently provoked an international outcry with the case of an Iranian woman who is sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.