Executions by stoning in Iran

We have a new report out today on Iran, about the horrific practice of stoning people to death. The death penalty is wrong in all cases weve just been crowded round the TV watching Kenny Richey being interviewed by This Morning after his release from 21 years on death row in the US but in the case of stoning in Iran it just gets worse and worse.

As our report and the Telegraphs coverage states, stoning is deliberately cruel. The Iranian penal code states that the stones used must be big enough to cause pain but not so big that they kill the person too quickly. Horrific. Theres some more info about how stoning works in the Creditdebtlife blog (written by a different Steve, not me).

The Daily Mail also covered the report and has taken an interest in the subject in the past theres a story plus a rather distressing image here.

The injustice is further compounded by unfair trials, and by the fact that stoning is often used as a punishment for adultery a crime that should certainly not be a capital offence. Stoning is disproportionately inflicted upon women because they are treated unequally by the courts, and because more Iranian women are illiterate and hence can be coerced into signing confessions to crimes that they did not commit. This inequality is borne out in the numbers awaiting execution by stoning currently nine women and two men, despite a supposed moratorium  since 2002.

One case weve highlighted is that of Kobra N, who is in Tabriz prison in north-west Iran. She was allegedly forced into prostitution by her husband, a heroin addict who was violent towards her. In 1995, after a severe beating by her husband, she told one of her regular customers that she wanted to kill her husband. The customer allegedly murdered her husband after Kobra N took him to an arranged meeting place. He was sentenced to death, but was pardoned by the victims family on payment of diyeh (blood money). Kobra N was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for being an accomplice to murder, and execution by stoning for adultery.

Perhaps surprisingly though, there is some hope. Many people in Iran are opposed to stoning and there are some very brave campaigners who are determined to bring the practice to an end the Stop Stoning Forever campaign, for example. Theres a great in-depth interview with the campaigner Soheila Vahdati on the Huffington Post site. The Iranian authorities have commuted several death sentences after concerted campaigning from within Iran, supported by international human rights organisations. So joining our campaign against the death penalty could make a real difference.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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