First Published: 2003-01-04

Iranian cleric: Execution by stoning suspended temporarily

Gharavian says it is up to supreme leader to make final decision on whether to stop executions by stoning.


Middle East Online

Execution by stoning is usually imposed for adultery

TEHRAN - A moratorium on executions by stoning is only temporary, a top Iranian conservative cleric said Saturday, while admitting the practice had hurt the Islamic republic's image abroad.

"Stonings have been provisionally suspended due to their negative effects, but this suspension is provisional," Hojatoleslam Mohsen Gharavian, a conservative cleric based in the central theological base of Qom, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

With a suspension in place, he said it was now up to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to make a final decision on whether executions by stoning - used to punish adulterers - should be totally stopped.

"The punishment of stoning, if they are not in the interests of Muslims and Islam, can be suspended for a determined period by the supreme guide," he was quoted as saying.

Last week member of parliament Jamileh Kadivar said Iran's judiciary will no longer order executions by stoning and has told judges to issue alternative punishments for adultery.

The European Union, which is currently engaged in human rights talks linked to landmark trade negotiations, has been asking Iran to impose a moratorium on executions by stoning.

Iran's reformist camp, which controls parliament and the presidency under Mohammad Khatami, has also been urging a change, along with a string of visiting foreign dignitaries.

Under the strict form of Islamic law in force here since the 1979 revolution, execution by stoning is usually imposed for adultery.

But in practice, the punishment is seldom ordered, given that even some prominent conservatives have blasted the practice as backward.

EU diplomats said there were two confirmed cases in 2001, and one unconfirmed case in 2002 in which a condemned woman reportedly survived by struggling out of the pit in which she had been buried before she could be killed.

Women sentenced to death are buried up to their shoulders, and men up to the waist, then onlookers are invited to pelt them with stones until death.

The stones are selected to be too small to kill immediately, in what London-based rights group Amnesty International has described as a "method specifically designed to increase the victim's suffering".


Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison