Sadr and Vahdati detail how stoning sentences are inextricably linked with gender discrimination under Iranian law. The detail this discrimination with regards to: legalized forced marriage and denial of divorce rights, punishments for sexual acts outside of marriage (for women), discriminatory judicial system, and discrimination in the practice of the stoning punishment itself. Because of these discriminatory policies, women make up most of the victims of stoning.

The editor of Middle East and Africa service of the Economist interviewed Grand Ayatollah Saanei about different matters pertaining to Islamic law and politics. In response to a question about stoning, the Ayatollah mentioned that some scholars believe that punishments such as these were only suitable in the time of the Prophet and his successors and that nowadays, the punishment for adultery should be something other than execution.

Grand Ayatollah Saanei, a former member of the Council of Guardians (1980-1981), and Iran’s Prosecutor General (1982-1985) states that in our time, i.e. during the absence of the 12th Imam, and according to jurisprudential views of some noted ulama such as Mirzay-e Qomi, the implementation of hodud punishments (such as stoning) are subject to doubt and may be suspended.

Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, who is known for his moderate views and more women-friendly interpretations of Sharia, states that stoning and other physical punishments within the “Law of Retribution” (qisas) such as hand cutting can be declared as prohibited or forbidden (mamnoo’) during the absence of the “hidden Imam”. [Persian]

This is an interview with GholamHossein Raesi, an attorney and member of the Network of Volunteer Lawyers. He is the lawyer of Parisa A. who has been sentenced to be stoned and also an activist with the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign. The interview details Raesi’s argument that stoning sentences are being issues unlawfully, particularly with regards to the methods of proving guilt of adultery. Specifically, many clients are punished based on the judges ‘knowledge’, which lessons the burden of proof significantly.

Peters discussed hadd punishments under the Islamic Penal Code in Iran, including stoning. He argues that in light of the many restraints put by the shariah on the application of hadd punishments, it is doubtful whether the numerous convictions of stoning were all obtained in conformity with shariah, which stipulates that testimonies and confessions made under duress are not valid. 

This is the website for the 2nd branch of the One Million Signatures Campaign to change gender discriminatory laws in Iran (this site hosted by Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani). There is a good selection of articles on violence against women here, which is regularly updated. The articles available in English are chosen very selectively; most of the relevant information appears in Persian only. Please check here for up-to-date information on the situation in Iran. [Persian]

This is the main website for one of the two Tehran branches of the One Million Signatures Campaign to change gender discriminatory laws in Iran (this site hosted by Parvin Ardalan). There is a good selection of articles on violence against women here, which is regularly updated. The articles available in English are chosen very selectively; most of the relevant information appears in Persian only. Please check here for up-to-date information on the situation in Iran. [Persian and English]

Maryam Majd, an Iranian photojournalist, has disappeared on her way from Tehran, Iran, to Dusseldorf in Germany, according to Petra Landers, a former national football player. In a letter to the German Foreign Office, Landers who met Maryam Majd earlier this year during a trip to Iran, explains what happened: "When I wanted to pick her up at 10:30 am on the 17th of June 2011 from Düsseldorf airport, I realized that she was not on the plane. (Mahan Airlines confirmed that Ms. Majd was not on board). By phone she was no longer reachable because the phone was switched off. Since that day nobody in Iran or in Germany has heard from Maryam Majd." This is Majd's blog (in Persian)

This is one of those cases where the authorities seem to be blaming the victim for the crime of the perpetrators. Almost 3 weeks ago, a private party in Khomeini Shahr, in Central Iran was attacked by gang members. The gang put all the men in a room, locked them in, and then raped the 12 female attendees in the party. The story quickly became a national scandal and now the authorities say they have set up a "special court"  and a "police task force" to expedite the trial of 14 men who are arrested in relation to this heinous crime.

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