Text size

All popular browsers allow zooming in and out by pressing the Ctrl (Cmd in OS X) and + or - keys. Or alternatively hold down the Ctrl key and scroll up or down with the mouse.

Line height


Iran: Woman sentenced to be buried up to chest and stoned to death

Hajieh Esmailvand’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court last month. Her unnamed co-defendant is at risk of imminent execution by hanging. Amnesty International members have been faxing urgent appeals to the Iranian authorities, calling for the execution to be stopped, and the organisation believes there is still time for supporters to take action, to save Hajieh Esmailavand’s life.

News reports, in addition to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights websites in Iran, suggest that the judiciary has confirmed that Hajieh Esmailvand is in detention, and that her execution has not been carried out. The judiciary is reportedly considering the method of execution and Amnesty International hopes that this means it will reconsider the sentence itself in accordance with Iran’s international obligations.

According to reports, Hajieh Esmailvand was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, to be followed by execution by stoning, for adultery with an unnamed man who at the time was a 17-year-old minor. Although the exact date of her arrest and trial are not known, it is reported that she has been imprisoned in the town of Jolfa, in the north west of Iran, since January 2000.

The Iranian Penal Code is very specific about the manner of execution and types of stones which should be used. Article 102 states that men will be buried up to their waists and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights 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.”

All death sentences in Iran must be upheld by the Supreme Court before they can be carried out. In November 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Hajieh Esmailvand but changed the lower court’s verdict from ‘death by hanging’ to ‘death by stoning’. Reports suggest that the Supreme Court ordered that the remainder of Hajieh’s five year prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence could be carried out before 21 December.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

“Our members here in the UK are faxing the Iranian authorities, imploring them to stop this brutal execution. Campaigners in Iran are also taking action. But we need people to continue to stand up and be counted, to tell the Iranian authorities that this is not acceptable.

“Every day, thousands of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights across the world face repression and violence, just because they are Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. From the battlefield to the bedroom, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are at risk. Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is a human rights atrocity and one we must tackle immediately.”

The news follows reports of a 19-year old girl, “Leyla M”, who has a mental age of eight, reportedly facing imminent execution for “morality-related” offences in Iran after being forced into prostitution by her mother as a child. According to a Tehran newspaper report of 28 November, she was sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak and the sentence has now been passed to the Supreme Court for confirmation.

Leyla M was reportedly sentenced to death on charges of “acts contrary to chastity” by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives and giving birth to an illegitimate child. She is to be flogged before she is executed. She had apparently “confessed” to the charges.

Leyla was forced into prostitution by her mother when she was eight years old, according to the 28 November report, and was raped repeatedly thereafter. She gave birth to her first child when she was nine, and was sentenced to 100 lashes for prostitution at around the same time. At the age of 12, her family sold her to an Afghan man to become his “temporary wife”. His mother became her new pimp, “selling her body without her consent”. At the age of 14 she became pregnant again, and received a further 100 lashes, after which she was moved to a maternity ward to give birth to twins. After this “temporary marriage”, her family sold her again, to a 55-year-old man, married with two Children's rights, who had Leyla’s customers come to his house.

One in three Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights around the world suffer serious violence in their lifetime, at home, in the community or in war, just because they are Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Amnesty International is running a global campaign to 'Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights'. The human rights organisation is calling on governments to repeal laws that permit and encourage violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, and on communities to challenge attitudes that allow violence to continue.

View latest press releases