Iran suspends stoning
The punishment of death by stoning has been suspended in Iran in what is seen as a possible first move to abolishing the practice. Stoning is the penalty for crimes such as adultery under Islamic law. The last such execution was reportedly last year.
According to reports from inside the country, four people sentenced to die by stoning have had their sentences commuted and other cases have been put under review. There are said to be at least eight women and a man awaiting the punishment.
Human rights groups have called on Iran to abolish what has been called a ‘horrific practice, designed to increase the suffering’ of those condemned. Amnesty International claim a disproportionate number of those sentenced to death by stoning were women because they were not treated equally before the law and were particularly vulnerable to unfair trials.
Iran’s penal code stipulates that before carrying out the punishment, men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests. The stones used must be large enough to cause the condemned pain, but not sufficient to kill immediately.