Latest ArticlesArchivesForumsRSS FeedGuestbookContact UsSearch

Iran Press Service (logo)

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Amnesty International Calls Iran to Stop Practice of Stoning

Published Wednesday, January 16, 2008

London (Amnesty International)        As nine women and two men in Iran wait to be stoned to death, Amnesty International today (15 January 2008) called on the Iranian authorities to abolish execution by stoning and impose an immediate moratorium on this horrific practice, specifically designed to increase the suffering of the victims.

In a new report published today, "Iran: Death by stoning, a grotesque and unacceptable penalty," the organization called on the authorities urgently to repeal or amend the country's Penal Code and to ensure total adherence in the meantime to a moratorium on stoning issued by the Head of the Judiciary in 2002.

Iran's Penal Code prescribes execution by stoning

"We welcome the recent advances toward reforms by Iranian authorities and upcoming discussions on an amended Penal Code that would suspend at least some stoning sentences," said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director. "However, the government must ensure that the new Penal Code does not allow stoning to death or other means of execution for adultery."

Iran's Penal Code prescribes execution by stoning. It even dictates that the stones are large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately. Article 102 of the Penal Code states that men should 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".

The serious failings in the justice system commonly result in unfair trials, including in capital cases. Despite the moratorium imposed in 2002 and official denials that stoning sentences continued to be implemented in Iran, deaths by stoning have been reported. Ja'far Kiani was stoned to death on July 5, 2007 in the village of Aghche-kand, near Takestan in Qazvin province. He had been convicted of committing adultery with Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, with whom he had two children and who was also sentenced to death by stoning. The stoning was carried out despite a stay of execution ordered in his case and in defiance of the 2002 moratorium.

stoning stones
The stones used for stoning must be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately

It was the first officially confirmed stoning since the moratorium, although a woman and a man are known to have been stoned to death in Mashhad in May 2006. There are fears that Mokarrameh Ebrahimi may yet suffer the same fate. She is in Choubin prison, Qazvin province, apparently with one of her two children.

Amnesty International is equally worried about the remaining eight women and two men who may face the same fate, and whose cases are highlighted in the new report.

The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women. Women suffer disproportionately from such punishment. One reason is that they are not treated equally before the law and courts, in clear violation of international fair trial standards. They are particularly vulnerable to unfair trials because they are more likely than men to be illiterate and therefore more likely to sign confessions to crimes they did not commit. Discrimination against women in other aspects of their lives also leaves them more susceptible to conviction for adultery.

In spite of this gloomy reality, there are grounds to hope that death by stoning will be completely abolished in Iran in the future. Courageous efforts are being made by local human rights defenders in Iran who launched the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign following the May 2006 stoning in Mashhad. Since they began, their efforts have helped save four women and one man--Hajieh Esmailvand, Soghra Mola'i, Zahra Reza'i, Parisa A and her husband Najaf--from stoning. As well, another woman, Ashraf Kalhori, has had her stoning sentence temporarily stayed.

The stones used for stoning must be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately

"The Iranian government should pay attention to its civil society activists who are working courageously to end stoning", said Elise Auerbach, Amnesty International USA Iran country specialist.

But these efforts have come at a high price. Campaigners in Iran continue to face harassment and intimidation from the authorities. Asieh Amini, Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, another leading member of "Stop Stoning Forever", were among 33 women arrested while protesting in March 2007 about the trial of five women's rights activists in Tehran.

Thirty-one of the detainees were released by March 9. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr were released on bail of 200 million toumans (over U.S. $215,000) on March 19. They are likely to face trial, possibly on charges including "disturbing public order" and "acting against state security."

Human rights defenders in Iran believe that international publicity and pressure, in support of local efforts, can help bring about change in the country. ENDS AI STONNING 16108

Editor’s note: A copy of the new report, "Iran: Death by stoning, a grotesque and unacceptable penalty," can be found here
Contact: AIUSA Media Office, 202-544-0200 x302

Highlights are by IPS



4 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 02:09 [ 1 ]

the problem is islam and islamic regime in iran. every ones and anybody's efforts , from goverments to individulas, should be directed toward ways to bring about a regime change in iran. Otherwise this Hypocrisy of human rights is going to continue. Shame on EU-3 and other countries in the world for their continous support of Illegal Islamic regime in iran. Death to mullahs long live secular democratic regime in iran

Jamshid Entesari
Thursday, January 17, 2008 03:32 [ 2 ]

I always wonder if the problem is Islam or other religions? The fact is that for anyone to achieve their goal they would resort to any sort of brutality they can. Be it the communists in Soviet Union or the Americans at Guantanamo and other places.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 17:06 [ 3 ]

The ragheads are cancer. They will only become more powerful if something isn't done. I look forward to the day of a towel-head free Iran.

kim costy
Thursday, January 17, 2008 20:01 [ 4 ]

I still don't understand those who compare communism with US or Islam.

people in the USSR had relatively lived freein a secular regim.

Only those from USSR who are right now we call them Russian Maffia and operating around the world were prosecuted.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Stoning is a legal practice under Islam laws and applies mostly to women

Powered by the Big Medium content management system. sitemap xml