B. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Paragraph 21 - In his last interim report to the General Assembly (A/52/742, paras. 31-34), the Special Representative focused on the use of stoning in the Islamic Republic. Since then, it has been brought to his attention that, based on press account, the figures used by the Special Representative in that earlier report understates the real number of deaths and secondly, that many of the stonings have in fact taken place in larger cities including Tehran, Hamedan, Isfahan and Kermanshah. It is also asserted that all such punishments have to be endorsed by the Supreme Court and that accordingly, the incidents concerned are not random acts of excess. The Special Representative declares his condemnation of such punishment.
31- The Special Representative is deeply concerned at the continuing reports of the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Islamic Republic of Iran, conduct banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 5), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( article 7), and the Convention against torture ands other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ( article 16). This is an area that requires urgent reform in terms of both law and practice in order to meet international human rights norms. In the present report, the Special Representative will address perhaps the most abhorrent of such practices, that of stoning.
32- The Special Representative notes that article 82 (b) of the Islamic Criminal Code provides that adultery by a married woman shall be punished by stoning to death. Information reaching the Special Representative suggests that stoning has been occurring from time to time since 1979. Four cases of such punishment in the past 18 months have come to the attention of the Special Representative:
- An Iranian Magazine reported in its July 1996 edition that Shasin Soltan-Moradi, and Mohammad-Ali Hemmati were stoned to death in June 1996 in Orumiyeh;
- An Iranian daily reported on 13 July 1997 that Changiz Rahimi, son of Jaafar, was sentenced to stoning for several offenses, including adultery;
- An external media source reported on 20 April 1997 that a young woman in Sanandaj, Shahgol Zamani, had been stoned to death that week,
- An external wire service story from Tehran of 12 August 1997 recounted
a story appearing in a Tehran newspaper about a 20-year-old woman in Boukan
who had been sentenced to stoning for adultery. The sentence had been carried
out, but the woman had apparently survived the ordeal.
33- It may be replied that stoning happens very rarely in the Islamic Republic of Iran and not certainly in the major cities. The Special Representative believes that for it to happen at all is unsustainable both legally and morally. The fact that it is provided for in the Islamic Criminal Code does not make it a "lawful sanction" but, in the view of the Special Representative, serves only to encourage recourse to such punishment. The Special Representative would note the most recent condemnation of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment of the Commission on Human Rights, which is resolution 1997/ 38, adopted on 11 April 1997.
34- In the view of the Special Representative, there is no doubt that stoning is a cruel., inhuman or degrading punishment, as discussed in the international instruments mentioned above. The Special Representative urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to remove article 82 (b) from the Islamic Criminal Code and to undertake a policy of actively suppressing recourse to such conduct throughout the country.