NewsSpecial WireRights group urges Iran not to stone women

Rights group urges Iran not to stone women


ImageIran Focus: London, Mar. 09 – Amnesty International on Monday urged Iran to suspend stoning sentences pending for eight women.

Iran Focus

ImageLondon, Mar. 09 – Amnesty International on Monday urged Iran to suspend stoning sentences pending for eight women.

The human rights organisation said that "as many as eight women are at imminent risk of being stoned to death for adultery in Iran".

In January Iran's Judiciary confirmed that two men convicted of adultery in the city of Mashhad, north-eastern Iran, were stoned to death in December, while a third convicted man escaped while the punishment was being carried out.

"Stoning people to death is an inhumane punishment, specifically designed to increase the suffering of the victim. The Iranian authorities should abolish stoning immediately, and should abandon the practice of executing people for committing adultery", said Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen.

"Serious failings in the Iranian justice system, which disproportionately affect women, commonly result in unfair trials in capital and other cases", said Amnesty.

The rights group pointed to the case of Ashraf Kalhori. She was scheduled to be stoned to death for adultery with her neighbour – a charge she now denies – in July 2006 but her execution was stayed. She was also sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for taking part in her husband's murder. Iranian media are now reporting that the Amnesty and Clemency Commission has rejected her plea and that her sentence could now be implemented at any time, the rights group said.

Another woman, known as Iran, is also at risk of execution by stoning. She was attacked by her husband when he saw her talking to the son of a neighbour, and while she was unconscious the neighbour's son killed her husband, Amnesty said. Iran initially confessed to adultery during police interrogation, but later retracted her confession.

A court in Khuzestan Province, south-western Iran, sentenced Iran to five years' imprisonment for complicity in her husband's murder, and to death by stoning for adultery. The stoning sentence was overturned in June 2007 and she was retried, but was again sentenced to stoning. Her case has been before the Amnesty and Clemency Commission for over a year.  She is held in Sepidar Prison, in Ahvaz city.

Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, adultery by a married woman is punishable by stoning. The law is very specific about the manner of execution and types of stones which should be used. Article 102 states that men will be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. Article 104 states, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should “not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones”.

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