After Protests Over Stoning Sentence for Adultery, Iran May Hang Woman Instead

By Patrick Goodenough | December 27, 2011 | 4:52am EST

Convicted of adultery, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was sentenced by death by stoning in 2006. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

(CNSNews.com) – An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery may be hanged instead, an Iranian official said Sunday, triggering fresh uncertainty over the fate of the 44-year-old who has been on death row since 2006.

The latest twist in the saga of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani comes about a year after Iranian media reported the death-by-stoning penalty had been “suspended” following appeals by foreign governments and human rights groups.

On Sunday, the head of the justice department in East Azerbaijan province, where Ashtiani is incarcerated, told the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency that Islamic experts had been instructed to investigate whether a prisoner convicted to death by stoning may be hanged instead.

“As soon as the result is obtained, we will carry out the sentence,” said Malek Ajdar Sharifi.

After Ashtiani’s husband was murdered in 2005, the mother of two was convicted of having an adulterous affair and was sentenced to death by stoning. She was also convicted of being an accessory to her husband’s murder and was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for that offense.

News of her stoning sentence led to an international outcry, with the Vatican and European Union joining calls for clemency. Iran turned down an offer by then Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to grant her asylum.

Stoning to death is traditionally the punishment for adultery under Islamic law. A report last year by Iran Human Rights, a group of activists living outside the country, named 10 women and three men awaiting execution by stoning. It also cited seven cases between 2006 and 2009 in which the sentence was known to have been carried out, and said the actual numbers were believed to be higher.

According to the State Department’s international human rights report, Iranian women face discrimination even in the administration of the stoning sentence.

“The law provides that a victim of stoning is allowed to go free if he or she escapes,” the report said. “It is much harder for women to escape, as they are buried to their necks, whereas men are buried only to their waists.”

Iran in 2010 secured a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations’ policy-making body devoted to gender equality and the advancement of women.

CNSNews Reader,

The media are hard at work weaving a web of confusion, misinformation, and conspiracy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNSNews covers the stories that the liberal media are afraid to touch. It drives the national debate through real, honest journalism—not by misrepresenting or ignoring the facts.

CNSNews has emerged as the conservative media’s lynchpin for original reporting, investigative reporting, and breaking news. We are part of the only organization purely dedicated to this critical mission and we need your help to fuel this fight.

Donate today to help CNSNews continue to report on topics that the liberal media refuse to touch. $25 a month goes a long way in the fight for a free and fair media.

And now, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can make up to a $300 gift to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of your choice and use it as a tax deduction on your 2020 taxes, even if you take the standard deduction on your returns.

— The CNSNews Team

DONATE

Connect

Sign up for our CNSNews Daily Newsletter to receive the latest news.