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Iran: Eight Women, One Man Are Awaiting Stoning to Death

(Sept. 5, 2008) Under Iran's Islamic criminal law (article 83), stoning to death is the punishment for the following acts:

1- Adultery committed by a married man. A married man is a man who has a “permanent” wife and, while of sane mind, has had sexual intercourse with her and may have sexual intercourse with her at any time he wants.

2- Adultery of a married woman with a mature man. A married woman is a woman who has a “permanent” husband, has had sexual intercourse with the husband while she was of sane mind, and has”the possibility of sexual intercourse with the husband.” (Unofficial translation from MAJMUAHI KAMILI QAVANIN VA MUQARRATI JAZA'I[in Farsi] [COMPLETE COMPILATION OF CRIMINAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS] 455 (1999).)

According to lawyer Shadi Sadr from the Volunteer Lawyers' Network which represents Iranian female convicts,[

T]here are at least eight women and one man who are [currently] subject to a definitive verdict [of stoning to death] that can be carried out at any moment. There are no guarantees that the stoning-to-death punishment will be halted or commuted. The convicts, who range in age from 28 to 50 years old, were mostly from illiterate and underprivileged backgrounds and were condemned to death in the absence of a good lawyer. Six of the nine were reportedly convicted with no witnesses and without the presence of lawyers during their confessions.

Under the law, adultery is the only capital offense punishable by stoning to death. A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck prior to the stoning.

One of the women who is to be stoned to death is Kobra Najar, a 43-year-old mother of four, who has been jailed since 1996 in Tabriz, the capital city of Iranian Azerbaijan, in the northwestern part of Iran. She has been found guilty of adultery as well as of being an accomplice in the murder of her husband, who reportedly forced her into prostitution for 12 years. (Eight Women, One Man Are Awaiting Stoning to Death, IRAN TIMES, Aug. 1, 2008, at 3.)