Thursday, August 07, 2008

Iran - Stoning Halted

Encouraging news from Iran, although I will hold my breath until it is definitively halted:

Iran's has suspended the punishment of death by stoning, state media say.

A judiciary spokesman said four people sentenced to die by stoning had had their sentences commuted and that all other cases had been put under review.

Lawyers and human rights campaigners have said at least eight women and a man are awaiting the punishment.

Stoning is the penalty for crimes such as adultery under Iranian law, but it is rarely carried out. The last such execution was reportedly last year.

Amnesty International called on Iran in January to abolish what it called a "horrific practice, designed to increase the suffering" of those condemned.

The country'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.

Amnesty also said 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.