Eight Iranian men convicted of theft are in imminent risk of having their fingers cut off, campaign groups warned on Friday.
All eight men are being held in the Greater Tehran prison waiting for their fingers on one hand to be amputated, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) and Amnesty International said in separate statements.
Three of them had been transferred from Orumiyeh prison in northwestern Iran in May specifically for the amputation, AFP quoted them as saying.
According to Amnesty International, the authorities have informed the men that they will be transferred to another prison in the coming days for the sentence to be implemented with a guillotine machine.
All eight were convicted of robbery and sentenced to amputation of their fingers, with the verdict upheld by the supreme court, Amnesty said.
On June 8, all eight were summoned for transfer for the amputation which was postponed for unknown reasons.
In a joint statement with the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), the ABC said it was concerned by "credible reports" that the device had now been installed in a clinic in Tehran's Evin prison and had already been used for at least one amputation in recent days.
"Carrying out such a cruel and inhuman punishment violates the minimum standards of humanity and decency," said ABC executive director Roya Boroumand.
"The international community can and should react urgently to stop the implementation of these amputations," she added.
The ABC said it had collected reports on at least 356 sentences of amputation issued since the Iranian revolution in 1979, but added the real number is believed to be much higher.