Iran: Man faces death by stoning for adultery

Amnesty International warned today that a 30-year-old man is at imminent risk of being stoned to death in the city of Rasht, northern Iran after being convicted of "adultery while being married", according to Iranian news reports. At least eight Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and two other men are also believed to be at risk of stoning to death in Iran.

Fears for Mohammad Ali Navid Khamami’s life increased after the spokesman for Iran’s Judiciary, Ali Reza Jamshidi, confirmed in a 5 May press conference that another man had been stoned to death in the Iranian month of Esfand (February- March 2009). Although Ali Reza Jamshidi also said that he was not aware of anyone else at risk of stoning in Rasht, he did not deny the possibility.

The report follows news of nine executions in Iran already this week and the international outcry over the 1 May execution of Delara Darabi, a young woman who was under 18 at the time of her alleged offence.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Iran seems to be set on a particularly bloody course this year, with more and more reports of death sentences and executions.

“Amnesty condemns all executions and calls for an end to the death penalty. But the practice of stoning, specifically designed to inflict a long and painful death, is particularly sickening.

“The Iranian authorities should listen to the voices of condemnation from all over the world and stop this horrific practice.”

Amnesty International also received reports that 30-year-old Vali Azad from Parsabad had been stoned to death in secret in Lakan Prison on 5 March after being convicted of "adultery while being married" by the General Court in Gilan Province. According to the report, a woman convicted in the same case had been pardoned. Following his execution, Vali Azad's body was reportedly buried in secret, despite requests by his family to have his body returned to them for burial.

Stoning in Iran is prescribed for the offence of "adultery while being married". In 2002, the Head of the Judiciary instructed judges to impose a moratorium on stonings. However, at least five men and one woman have been stoned to death since 2002. In January 2009, Ali Reza Jamshidi, while confirming two executions by stoning in December 2008, said that the directive on the moratorium had no legal weight and judges could therefore ignore it.

Amnesty supporters are calling on the Iranian authorities to commute the sentence of death by stoning faced by Mohammad Ali Navid Khamami and others, and for them not to face execution by any other means. Amnesty is urging the authorities to ensure that the moratorium on stonings is implemented immediately and effectively, making it clear that any officials who defy the instruction will be held accountable.

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