Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

End execution by stoning in Iran

Amnesty International
April 30, 2010
Appeal/Urgent Action

The Iranian authorities continue to sentence people to death by stoning. Currently there are at least 11 individuals at risk of execution by stoning. According to Iran's Penal Code, execution by stoning is prescribed for "adultery while being married".

The Penal Code specifies the manner of execution and types of stones that should be used. Article 102 states that men will 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". This makes it clear that the purpose of stoning is to inflict pain in a process leading to slow death.

In mid-2006, a group of Iranian human rights defenders, mostly women, including activists, journalist and lawyers, began a campaign to abolish stoning. The 'Stop Stoning Forever' Campaign aims to save the life of anyone under sentence of stoning in Iran and to abolish stoning in law and in practice. Since the campaign began, at least 15 individuals have been saved from stoning and others have been granted stays of execution. However, in at least three cases, individuals sentenced to stoning have been executed by hanging.

Click on the button below to send a letter to the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, urging him to end the use of stoning as a method of execution in Iran.

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Your Excellency,

I am writing to express my deep concern that individuals continue be sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.

At least eight women and three men are at risk of being stoned to death in Iran. In addition, at least six executions by stoning have been carried out in spite of the moratorium issued by the Head of the Judiciary in 2002. Execution by stoning aggravates the brutality of the death penalty and is a method specifically designed to increase the victim's suffering as the stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately.

I am aware that a draft law amending the Penal Code is currently before the Majles for approval. I understand that this bill proposes an amendment to the law on stoning, so that if it is regarded as being in the national interest that an individual’s sentence of stoning should not be implemented, the sentence can be suspended at the request of the Public Prosecutor with the agreement of the Head of the Judiciary.

I welcome these steps towards reform, but nonetheless I urge your government, as a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,to ensure that any legislation eventually passed is in line with Iran’s obligations under international law, so that no one in Iran risks the death penalty for having consensual sexual relations in private.

An immediate moratorium on executions by stoning should be enforced until these changes can become law. All individuals currently under sentence of death by stoning in Iran should have their sentences commuted immediately.

Yours sincerely,