stonings In Iran
In late 2008 stonings resumed in Iran. Houshang Khodadadeh and another unidentified man were stoned to death around 26 December. On 5 March 2009, a man named Vali Azad was secretly stoned to death in Lakan Prison in north-western Iran.
After a year in which there was encouraging news and the action of thousands of activists around the world succeeded in stopping the stoning of at least seven people, 2009 has started with this terrible news: the two new stoning cases show once again that the statements of the Iranian judiciary, which in 2002 and in August 2008 announced suspensions of stonings, are not enough. Six people have been stoned to death since 2002.
It is therefore necessary to redouble efforts to end this heinous practice once and for all.
Execution by stoning is a particularly cruel punishment that Iran applies to married men and women accused of committing adultery, in defiance of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which has ruled that treating adultery as a crime is contrary to international standards. Stoning is specifically designed to increase the victim's suffering by choosing stones large enough to cause pain but not large enough to kill the victim outright.
According to information available to Amnesty International, at least eight women and two men in Iran are at risk of stoning. The women are: Iran A., Khayrieh V., Ashraf Kalhori, Gilan Mohammadi, Sakineh Mohammadi, M.J., H. and Kobra Babaei. The men are: Gholamali Eskandari and Rahim Mohammadi.
On the road to the total abolition of the death penalty, the Iranian authorities must enact a law unequivocally prohibiting stoning as a judicial penalty. Pending such a law, they should immediately declare a moratorium on stoning, making it clear to all judges and other officials that they will be held accountable if they fail to comply with such a moratorium. They should also decriminalise sexual relations between consenting adults.