This report details the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign, an Iranian campaign that since 2006 has strived to outlaw stoning from the Iranian Penal Code. It outlines the goals, strategies, and outcomes associated with the Campaign as well as stoning more broadly in Iran.
This article does not focus on stoning only, but does explain the doctrine of Maslahat[analogy] or Zarurat[necessity], which has important implications to the stoning issue (starting on page 213.) Many religious scholars have admitted that stoning is an “Islamic” punishment and thus part for shariah. However, they can legitimately reject or ban such punishment, and any law, if causes enough harm to the Islamic Republic.
Dr. Alireza Jamshidi, the Iranian Judiciary spokesman, announced in a press briefing held on 10 July 2007, that the stoning of Jafar Kiani had indeed taken place but the stoning of his partner, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, is stayed. Jamshidi contrasted the supposed legality of the Kiani case with another case in Takistan.
Sisters in Islam issued this alert calling for the Iranian government to abolish stoning “as a form of torture”. They also publish research on progressive alternative Islamic Family Law, which includes laws on adultery.
This book tells the true story of a person stoned in an Iranian village sometime after the Revolution. Soraya M’s husband Ghorban-Ali wanted out of his marriage, and accused his wife of adultery. She was taken away, buried and stoned to death. The son of a former Iranian ambassador, French journalist and war correspondent Freidoune Sahebjam wrote the book after his experience in the village. His book was turned into a script for the film (also included).
Shadi Sadr gives a brief background on stoning cases in the last 10 years. She then explains how adultery is proven in Iranian courts using “judges finding” (see narrative), instead of witnesses or confession. She also explains how in many cases, the execution of stoning is carried out before the execution of other punishments such as imprisonment, contrary to Article 98 of the Islamic Penal Code stating that lighter punishments must be carried out before more severe sentences.
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]