HomeParty    Publications    Universities    Youth    Women    Labor movement    International Politics    News    Arts and Culture    Humanrights in iran   

Tehran to abandon death by stoning
Iran has amended its penal code by removing all executions by stoning and ending the death penalty for juvenile offenders .

Under the old penal code, stoning to death was one of the sentences applied for adultery. Iranian activists who campaigned against the practice said at least 99 men and women have been executed by stoning since 1980 .
Iran leads the world in the number of juveniles it executes, says Human Rights Watch, a US based pressure group. In its 2012 world report, the organisation said more than a hundred under-18s were believed to be on death row. Iran executed at least three minors in 2011 .
Iran’s domestic media have reported that the guardian council, the constitutional watchdog which ensures the country’s laws do not contradict sharia, or Islamic law, has given its approval to the reforms .
The new law is expected to be enforced “soon”. “The changes are major and definitely positive because they make the penal code closer to modern rules, give it a logical order and moderate its deficiencies,” said a prominent lawyer .
Iran has a poor human rights record. Execution remains the main penalty for murder, adultery, homosexuality, drugs smuggling, armed action and any action deemed to be aimed at disrupting the country’s political, economic and social order .
The US, European Union and the UN have put pressure on Iran to observe the rights of criminals, politicians, human rights activists and journalists .
The UN last year appointed Ahmed Shaheed of the Maldives as special rapporteur on human rights to Iran, although so far he has been denied access to the country. The US and EU have imposed travel bans on Iranian officials who, they say, violate human rights.
The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said, in a report in September, he was “deeply troubled by reports of increased numbers of executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment" .
Despite the pressure, the Islamic regime shows no significant flexibility toward its political prisoners and continues to suppress its opponents. In an effort to contain political dissent before an opposition march on Tuesday, about 30m Iranian internet users, many of whom have resorted to cyberspace to express their dissent, have had difficulties accessing . Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail as well as foreign websites since last Thursday
Tehran has instead tried to improve its human rights record by amending penalties for ordinary crimes .
In a non-binding circular issued about 10 years ago, Iran’s judiciary urged judges to avoid issuing death sentences by stoning and instead stick to hanging, while the death sentences against minors, were in most cases not carried out until the offenders had reached the age of 18. Human rights organisations argued that such measures were inadequate and insisted real change in the law was necessary .
The stoning sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 45-year-old woman, on charges of adultery and murder led to an international outcry which has made the regime delay carrying out the sentence. She remains in jail in the northwestern city of Tabriz, capital of East Azerbaijan province .
The prosecutor-general of the province said last month that Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief, had authorised hanging instead of stoning “because the main goal is execution" .
Malek Azhdar Sharifi added that the hanging sentence would be carried out when final approval “after consultations amongst jurisprudents” was issued from Tehran .
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012 .

go back

last update: 10/18/2017 3:39