16 January, 2008

Iran: death by stoning ' a grotesque and unacceptable penalty'

‘In Iran, stoning a person to death is not against the
law. Using the wrong stone is.’

- Amnesty International

‘The size of the stone used in stoning shall not be too
large to kill the convict by one or two throws and at the
same time shall not be too small to be called a stone.’

- Article 104 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code

Iran's penal code lays down the size of stones crowds should use to bludgeon adulterers to death, Amnesty International has discovered.

This regulation is "specifically designed to increase the suffering of the victims," according to an Amnesty report.

Article 104 of the Iranian penal code states 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".

Typically, the victim takes 20 minutes to die. Under Article 102, men must be buried up to their waist for stoning, while women are buried up to their chest.

Although Iran imposed a moratorium on such executions in 2002, two people were stoned to death in 2006 and one last year.

Nine women and two men are under sentence of death by stoning. More women suffer this punishment because evidence from a man carries twice as much weight as a woman's in Iran's courts.

Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty UK, said: "Execution by stoning is a grotesque penalty which the Iranian authorities should abolish immediately."

Eleven people in Iran - nine of them women - are waiting to be stoned to death on charges of adultery. Many have been sentenced after grossly unfair trials. Amnesty International has called on the country's authorities to immediately abolish this grotesque punishment, which is specifically designed to increase the suffering of its victims.

Amnesty International is calling for urgent changes to Iranian law to ensure that no one can be sentenced to death for adultery, whether by stoning or any other means.

"We welcome recent moves towards reform and reports that the Majles (Iran's parliament) is discussing an amended Penal Code that would permit the suspension of at least some stoning sentences," said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East Programme.

"But the authorities must go much further, and take the steps needed to ensure that the new Penal Code neither permits stoning to death nor provides for execution by other means for adultery."

Despite official claims that stonings have been halted - including a moratorium issued by the Head of the Judiciary in 2002 - several have taken place, with the latest only last year. Ja'far Kiani, a man, was stoned to death for adultery on 5 July 2007 in the village of Aghche-kand, near Takestan in Qazvin province. There are fears that Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, with whom he had two children, may suffer the same fate. She is in Choubin prison, Qazvin province, apparently with one of their children. A woman and a man are also known to have been stoned to death in Mashhad in May 2006.

The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women. Women are not treated equally with men under the law and by courts, and they are also particularly vulnerable to unfair trials because their higher illiteracy rate makes them more likely to sign confessions to crimes they did not commit.

Despite this bleak reality, human rights defenders in Iran believe that international publicity can help bring an end to stoning. Courageous efforts are being made by their Stop Stoning Forever campaign, whose efforts have helped save five people from stoning (and led to another sentence being stayed) since it began in October 2006.

These efforts have come at a price, with campaigners facing harassment and intimidation by the authorities. Thirty-three women, including members of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign, were arrested while protesting in March 2007 about the trial of five women's rights activists in Tehran.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases. The report issued on 15 January, End executions by stoning, sets out the organisation’s concerns, including for the 11 people currently known to be under sentence of death and awaiting execution by stoning.

"We urge the Iranian authorities to heed our calls, and those of the Iranians who are striving relentlessly to obtain an end to this horrendous practice," said Malcolm Smart.

Stop Stoning Forever Campaign - The objective of this campaign is to change the Islamic Penal Code of Iran such that stoning will never again be issued as a sentence or practiced as a punishment.

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Blogger Zawi said...

If criminals like Nurin's killers can be caught, they desrve this kind of treatment by stoning. In the case od adultery cases in Iran, a fair trial is definitely very doubtful especially when women are being judged.
This subject is too sensitive for moslems like me to discuss though personally I diagree with punishment being meted out.

January 17, 2008 10:58 AM  
Blogger Linken Lim said...

Bro' Zawi,

Nice to have you here.You sound like a very understanding and tolerate Muslim,a moderate Muslim, am sure you are !

"If criminals like Nurin's killers can be caught, they deserve this kind of treatment by stoning."

Yes,that's the least they deserve.

What a barbaric and disgusting way to torture an innocent child like that. I think they deserve more than just stoning.

January 17, 2008 9:35 PM  

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