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Shopkeepers Selling Cigarettes in Mosul Under ISIS Face 80 Lashes

Shopkeepers caught selling cigarettes in the ISIS stronghold city of Mosul could face 80 lashes, hefty fines and more than two weeks in jail.

Shopkeepers caught selling cigarettes in the ISIS-conquered city of Mosul now face 80 lashes, more than two weeks in jail and a hefty fine. The 700,000 Iraqi dinar penalty is the equivalent of $580 — or enough to buy an iPhone 5S or Windows 7 laptop computer in the country. Anyone caught trying to import cigarettes into the northern Iraqi city also faces 80 lashes, as well as four months in jail and a fine of up to 4 million Iraqi dinar — the equivalent of about $3,300.

The punishments are among the strict Islamic laws imposed by the extremist group which has seized parts of Iraq and Syria. They were detailed on the website of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights. A staff member at the University of Mosul, who spoke on condition of anonymity for his own safety, confirmed to NBC News via telephone that the laws had been implemented and were in effect. He said anyone caught smoking in Mosul could be fined 20,000 Iraqi dinar — or around $16. That's enough to by a pair of jeans or groceries to provide three meals for a family of four. One Mosul resident told NBC News that the new rules had sent the price of cigarettes soaring in the city. He added that people were now afraid to smoke in their homes.


- Alexander Smith