Stoning in Iran (





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Published on Jul 1, 2008

Washington, June 24, 2008 (IranVNC)—The recent stoning sentence on adultery charges for two sisters in Iran is sparking a debate over the legality of that court order.

16.30 GMT-12:30 PM/EST

In February this year, sisters Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, from the town of Shahriar in Tehran Province, were charged with adultery. They will be sentenced to death by stoning. The verdict comes six months after each sister had already carried out a sentence of 99 lashes for the same crime.

In its 2008 report, Amnesty International and other human rights groups have demanded an end to execution in Iran, particularly stoning. (GFX: Stoning is practiced today in: Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.)

Zahir Janmohamed, Advocacy Director,Amnesty International USA: "The Iranian law stipulates that the rock must be big enough to inflict injury, but not that big enough where the actual stone causes fatality... The very act of throwing rocks at an individual is a form of mild torture."(GFX: Stoning ismentioned in Greek history as well as Christian, Jewish and Islamic texts.)

Eleven people in Iran, currently on adultery charges, await their death sentence by stoning...nine of whom are women.

Janmohamed: "In a lot of these societies that are highly patriarchal society, you have incidents in which the husbands, because they suspect their wives of doing something deemed inappropriate, they'll report their wives committed adultery. In a society where women already don't have many rights, and when you have men already making these allegations, women have little recourse to respond to those allegations."
(GFX:According to Article 102 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran: "An adulterer man shall be buried in a ditch up to near his waist and an adulterer woman up to near her chest and then stoned to death."

Zohreh's husband accused both sisters of having "illegal relationships" with men in February of 2007. The judge saw a video of them in the company of a man. But there was no evidence of any sexual act. Without the presence of a defense attorney, each sister was interrogated and sentenced to 99 lashes. Six months later,after they had carried out that sentence, additional accusations by the husband put them on a second trial on adultery charges for married women.They were convicted, but this time, the method of execution is stoning. (GFX:In Iran's Penal Code, sexual relationships between unmarried men and women is criminally punishable by 100 lashes... and for married offenders, maybe punished by stoning.)(GFX: Article 105 of Iran's Penal Code: The Shari'a judge can act upon his own knowledge and carry out the punishment.)

Amnesty and other human rights groups consider this practice, particularly in the case of those sisters, a violation of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. (GFX: Article 14, paragraph 1 of this Convention stipulates: "All persons shall be equal before courts and tribunals," and that "everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal established by law."

Janmohamed: "In Islamic law, for a person to accuse another of adultery, they need to have two male witnesses or four female witnesses who must actually witness the act of penetration. This case particularly is interesting, because it shows how the Iranian government is willing to use the flimsiest of evidence to accuse somebody of adultery."

Both sisters now await their death sentence with the approval of the Supreme Court. Their lawyer has tried to stop their stoning with the intervention of the country's highest judicial official, Ayatollah Shahroudi. But even he, who banned stoning in 2002, still cannot stop this order.

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© IranVNC 2008. All rights reserved.


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