Monday, January 14, 2008

Iran urged to stop the horrific practice of stoning

Amnesty International has called for the abolition of the practice of stoning people to death in Iran. The method of execution has been used throughout history but is considered so barbaric that it is rarely practiced outside a handful of countries.

In Iran, nine women and two men await death sentences by stoning. The method involves burying men up to their waist and women up to their breasts. They are then pelted with stones – specified to be large enough to inflict pain but not big enough to kill outright – until they die. Stoning to death is a "horrific practice, designed to increase the suffering" of those condemned, the UK-based rights group says in the report.

Stoning is the favored form of execution in Iran for cases involving adultery. A disproportionate number of these cases impact on women and a majority of those stoned are women.

According to Reuters:

Amnesty International on Tuesday called on Iran to abolish the "grotesque and horrific" practice of stoning people to death.

Amnesty, which opposes the death penalty under any circumstances, said an Iranian man had been stoned to death in July last year for committing adultery, despite a moratorium being imposed on such executions in 2002.

The woman he was convicted of committing adultery with still faces the threat of being stoned, a practice that involves the woman being buried up to her breasts in sand and then pelted with stones until she dies.

"Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian government to abolish immediately and totally execution by stoning and to impose a moratorium on the death penalty," the rights group said in a 30-page report on the practice.

"Iranian law prescribes that the stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately ... It is a particularly grotesque and horrific practice."

While stoning is used relatively seldom in Iran, it is the favored form of execution in cases involving adultery and has a disproportionate impact on women, according to Amnesty.

Iran has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. In 2006, 177 people were put to death, mostly by hanging. Last year, that number was expected to be exceeded, with 124 people executed in the first seven months of the year.

As well as calling for the abolition of stoning and a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty also urged the Iranian government to decriminalize adultery, which is not illegal in the majority of countries.

1 comment:

Comrade Kevin said...

Legislating morality is a strategy almost certainly doomed to fail.