Shappi Khorsandi launches short film on 'calculated cruelty' of stoning in Iran

Film - ahead of World Day Against Death Penalty (10 Oct) - is part of campaign to stop stoning in Iran

The Anglo-Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi has launched a new film that mocks Iran’s laws on stoning as part of Amnesty International’s anti-death penalty campaign.

The two-minute film shows the star of stand-up and TV comedy ridiculing Iranian penal laws that allow men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to be stoned to death for “crimes” like adultery, but only if stones of the correct size are used in the execution.

Amnesty International UK Death Penalty Campaigner Clare Bracey said:

“This brilliant little film helps expose the calculated cruelty of stonings in Iran.

“It’s staggering that the authorities could be so cruel that they deliberately prolong the suffering of a stoning victim by having rules on the precise size of the stones used. However, it’s true and it needs to stop.

“I hope everyone that watches this film will support the campaign to get the Iranian authorities to end this brutality once and for all.”

According to the Iranian penal code (Article 104), the stones used to kill the condemned person must “not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws and at the same time not too small to be called a stone.” The stones are selected in a way which prolongs the suffering of the victim, with some stonings reportedly taking up to two hours.

The victim of a stoning is bound, covered in a shroud and buried in a pit - up to their waist if they are a man, up to their chest if they are woman. A doctor will periodically interrupt the stoning to check whether the victim is still alive; if so, the stoning will proceed.

Last year the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two in her 40s who faced stoning for adultery, focused international attention on Iran’s use of stoning. Ashtiani remains in prison and could still be executed. Meanwhile, another 13 people are reportedly under a sentence of stoning in the country.

Note to editors:
The film is at:

Since 2002, Amnesty is aware of at least five men and one woman who have been stoned to death in Iran. Additionally, at least two men and one woman sentenced to stoning have been hanged instead. The Iranian authorities are currently undertaking a review of whether stoning should be included in the Penal Code.

Shappi Khorsandi was born in 1973 in Tehran, Iran. Her family moved to London and were exiled after the revolution of 1979. In 2009 she published A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English, an account of her move from Tehran to London. She has worked in stand-up comedy for over a decade.

View latest press releases