Cruel and Inhuman Punishment Should Be Banned Immediately
June 20, 2007
The Judiciary must take immediate action to save the lives of this couple and end barbaric punishments such as death by stoning.
Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East & North Africa

The Iranian Judiciary should immediately stop the scheduled stoning tomorrow of a woman and man charged with adultery, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Ghazvin Municipal Security Council has publicly announced that Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, 43, and the father of her 11-year-old child are to be executed by public stoning. Branch 1 of Takistan’s Criminal Court sentenced the two to death by stoning on charges of adultery.

“The Iranian government is about to kill a mother and father in the most brutal manner,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch. “The Judiciary must take immediate action to save the lives of this couple and end barbaric punishments such as death by stoning.”

Ebrahimi, a mother of three children, has been awaiting her death sentence in the Choubin prison in Ghazvin province for the last 11 years. The man with whom she was accused of having had “illegal relations” has also been in prison during this time.

The Islamic Penal Code of Iran allows for the punishment of death by stoning for crimes of adultery. Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states in article 6 that “in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes.” According to article 7 of the covenant, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty.

In December 2002, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary, ordered a ban on stoning. Yet this form of punishment continues, and it is disproportionately applied to women. In response to this, Iranian women’s rights activists initiated the Campaign to End Stoning Forever to document and prevent the practice throughout Iran.

“This impending executions show that the government isn’t enforcing its ban on stoning, nor is it acting in accordance with its international obligations,” Stork said. “The Judiciary can no longer credibly deny that stoning takes place in Iran. The authorities should act without delay to ban this shameful practice once and for all.”

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