The stoning of women is one of the more savage, and revealing aspects of the mullahs' rule in Iran. This vicious punishment of women is without precedent in Iran's recent history. Since the inception of the mullahs' rule, hundreds of women of various ages have been and continue to be stoned to death throughout Iran.
What makes this hideous crime even more abhorrent is that it is carried out under the name of Islam. The Quran and the Prophet of Islam despised such behavior. On the contrary, in the Quran and the Prophet's traditions, such barbarism is denounced. The Prophet did his utmost to eradicate backward traditions, including stoning, which victimized women.
The authorities of the Islamic Republic have attempted to explain away stoning in Iran, as noted in the report by the U.N. Special Representative on Iran, as something that takes place only in remote and culturally backward areas. Actually, stoning and other cruel punishments are used by the regime to extend their reign of terror, while internationally Tehran tries to deny responsibility. It must be noted that:
1- The responsibility for any inhuman punishment, regardless of where it takes place, lies with the judiciary and the state,
2- Stoning and other cruel punishments taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran are not a matter of individual discretion; rather, they are defined by the law of the land, and such sentences are issued based on these laws.
The penalty for adultery under Article 83 of the penal code, called the Law of Hodoud is flogging (100 lashes of the whip) for unmarried male and female offenders. Married offenders may be punished by stoning regardless of their gender, but the method laid down for a man involves his burial up to his waist, and for a woman up to her neck (article 102). The law provides that if a person who is to be stoned manages to escape, he or she will be allowed to go free. Since it is easier for a man to escape, this discrimination literally becomes a matter of life and death.
Interestingly, Article 6 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified, states: "Sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime." Offenses for which the Law of Hodoud provides the death penalty do not involve murder or serious bodily harm, constituting the "most serious crimes".
Article 104 of the Law of Hodoud provides that the stones should
not be so large that a person dies after being hit with two of them, nor
so small as to be defined as pebbles, but must cause severe injury. This
makes it clear that the purpose of stoning is to inflict grievous pain
on the victim, in a process leading to his or her slow death.
3- All execution orders and verdicts of stoning must be upheld by the supreme court in Tehran irrespective of where they were issued. Therefore, the regime's justification is absurd.
- The video is a documentary recording of four individuals being stoned in one of the security centers in Tehran in the presence of high ranking officials of the regime's judiciary. The video tape, smuggled out of the country by the Mojahedin, shows the representative of the prosecutor reading out the verdicts. He declares that the verdicts were issued by Ali Razini, the head of Judicial Organization of the Military Forces. Razini can be seen in the video tape, and throws the first stone. The prosecutor of military forces, Niazi, is also present. Razini is currently the head of Tehran's Justice Department and also heads the "Special Clerical Court."
Anecdotes of this brutal process reveal ever more of cruelty. The regime's authorities usually force the victim's family members, including children, to watch the stoning to death of their loved one, and in some instances, when the woman miraculously managed to escape, contrary to the regime's own law, she was recaptured and either stoned again or killed on the spot.
On August 10, 1994, in the city of Arak, a woman was sentenced to death by stoning. According to the ruling of the religious judge, her husband and two children were forced to attend the execution. The woman urged her husband to take the children away, but to no avail. A truck full of stones was brought in to be used during the stoning. In the middle of the stoning, although her eyes had been gouged out, the victim was able to escape from the ditch and started running away, but the regime's guards recaptured her and shot her to death.
In October 1989 in the city of Qom, a woman who was being stoned managed to pull herself out of the hole, only to be forced back into it and stoned to death. In justifying the murder, Qom's Chief Religious Judge, Mullah Karimi, elaborated to Ressalat newspaper on October 30, 1989: "Generally speaking, legal and religious decrees on someone condemned to stoning call for her stoning if her guilt was proven on the basis of witnesses' testimonies. Even if she were to escape in the middle of the administration of the sentence, she must be returned and stoned to death."
On July 13, 1997, Kayhan reported that Changiz Rahimi was sentenced to death, stoning and payment of fine for committing murder and adultery.
On October 26, 1997, six individuals were stoned in Sari, the provincial capital of Mazandaran. This was reported by Salaam daily and international news agencies. The names of the victims were given as Fatemeh Danesh, Masoumeh Eini, Marzieh Fallah, Ali Mokhtarpour, Parviz Hasanzadeh and Kheirollah Javanmard.
AFP, December 7, 1994:
Hamshahri reported that a woman and a man were recently stoned to death in Ramhormouz on murder and adultery charges.
AFP, November 16, 1994
Abrar reported on Wednesday that three Iranians including a woman were stoned in the city of Sari (northern Iran), after being found guilty of adultery and rape by the Islamic court.
AFP, 11 November 1995, quoting Jomhouri Islami reported that a man was stoned in the city of Hamedan.
AFP, June 8, 1996
Hamshahri reported on Saturday that a man and a women were stoned in the city of Oroumieh on murder and adultery charges. Shahin Soltan-Moradi had murdered her husband with the help of her lover, Mohammad Ali Hemmati in November 1994.
On July 14, 1995, Amnesty International reported that two women by the names of Saba Abdali, 30, and Zeinab Heidary, 38, were faced with stoning in the city of Ilam Gharb.
On December 7, 1994, Reuters quoted a state-controlled newspaper report by Hamshahri, on a married woman who was stoned to death in the city of Ramhormouz, southwestern Iran.
Ressalat, March 1, 1994, read: "A woman was stoned to death in the city of Qom."
Kayhan of February 1, 1994, reported that a woman named Mina Kolvat was stoned to death in Tehran for having immoral relations with her cousin.
The U.N. Special Representative on the human rights situation in Iran reported to the U.N. General Assembly in 1993: "On November 1, 1992, a woman named Fatima Bani was stoned to death in Isfahan."
Abrar reported on November 5, 1991 that a woman charged with immoral relations was stoned in the city of Qom.
According to Kayhan, August 21, 1991, a woman charged with adultery by the name of Kobra was sentenced to 70 lashes and stoning. The verdict was carried out in the presence of local people and district officials.
Jomhouri Islami wrote on March 11, 1991, that in Rasht (northern Iran), "Bamani Fekri, child of Mohammad-Issa, guilty of complicity in first-degree murder, adultery and incineration of the victim's body; was sentenced to stoning, retribution, blinding of both eyes and payment of 100 gold dinars. After the announcement of the verdict, she committed suicide in prison."
Ressalat reported on January 16, 1990, that a woman was stoned to death in the city of Bandar Anzali (northern Iran).
Ettela'at reported on January 5, 1990: "Two women were stoned publicly on Wednesday in the northern city of Lahijan."
Jomhouri Islami, January 2, 1990: "Two women were stoned in the city of Langrood (northern Iran)."
Kayhan wrote on July 31, 1989: "Six women were stoned to death publicly in Kermanshah on charges of adultery and moral corruption."
Kayhan, April 17, 1989, quoted the Religious judge and head of the Fars and Bushehr Justice Department as sentencing 10 women to stoning to death on prostitution charges which were immediately carried out.
Tehran radio, reported on March 6, 1989 that a women was stoned in Karaj for committing adultery."
Kayhan, October 4, 1986, reported that a 25-year-old woman named Nosrat was stoned to death in the city of Qom. She died after an hour of continuos stoning.
On April 17, 1986 a woman was stoned to death in the city of Qom. Prior to being stoned, she was whipped in public.
In July 1980, four women were simultaneously stoned to death in the city of Kerman.
It must be noted that the cases of stoning in small towns and cities were not included here.
The brutality is not limited to stoning. For example, in late May 1990, in the city of Neyshabour (northeastern Iran), a woman charged with adultery was thrown off a 10-story building. The execution was carried out in public, and the victim died on impact.
The regime's duplicity when it comes to publicizing the news of such Byzantine atrocities, is very telling. Inside Iran, they are trumpeted with great fanfare, but when it comes to the international arena, officials brazenly deny their methods. In an interview with Le Figaro on September 10, 1994, Rafsanjani was asked, "Are women accused of adultery stoned in Iran?" He replied: "No, no such thing exists in Iran. This has been fabricated to damage us."
In his April 1998 trip to France and Sweden, Ata’ollah Mohajerani,
the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Khatami's government
spokesman, who is regarded to be a moderate figure, discussed several
matters. His positions openly contradicted what he says in Iran and the
actions of the government. When asked about his views about stoning,
Mohajerani refrained from making an unequivocal statement of support for
this inhuman practice. Upon returning to Iran, however, he said explicitly
that he does not oppose stoning but believes that efforts should be made
to stop the dissemination of the news of stoning and filming the scenes.
In her first interview with a foreign publication, Massoumeh Ebtekar, who was appointed as vice-president by Khatami, tried to avoid stating her views on stoning. Only later in the interview did she admit to its occurrence in general terms, but qualified her remark by saying it occurs only in remote places.
Indeed, stoning is indispensable to the clerics efforts to intimidate and terrorize the Iranian public. During Friday prayers, in May of 1998, in the provincial capital of Kermanshah (the largest city in western Iran), Mullah Zarandi had the following to say about the need to carry out stoning: “The security forces have to show more presence in the society. In order to set an example for others, the judiciary should also bring some of those eligible to one of the city squares and amputate their hands. They should also have a series of stoning. I promise that the society will be rectified.”
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