Iran Ends Stoning of Women for Adultery
Majority, January 2, 2003
Iran has ended its practice of imposing the harsh
sentence of stoning as a form of capital punishment for women. The head of the
judiciary instructed judges to halt implementing the sentence, according to
BBC News. Iranís decision to end the severe sentence could be a result of
the international outcry against a recent stoning sentence of a Nigerian
woman, Amina Lawal, for having sex out of wedlock. The Nigerian government
promised in October to stop the Islamic courts from carrying out sentences of
death by stoning.
This decision to stop stoning women adulterers came soon
after Cindy Costa, the Senior Advisor of the United States Mission to the
United Nations, stated that the number of stonings in Iran were on the rise.
According to Radio Free Europe, in May 2001 a woman was stoned to death in
Tehranís Evin prison for acting in pornographic films and having sexual
relations outside of marriage.
Since the 1997 election of the President Mohammad Khatami,
Iranian women have gained greater freedoms, including the repeal of a ban on
unmarried women studying abroad. Iranís Guardian Council, a hard-line
conservative force in Iran, approved a bill in December broadening womenís
divorce rightsóa right that has been severely limited since the 1979 Islamic
Revolution. The signing of this bill by both the Parliament and the Guardian
Council and the decision to end the practice of stoning women adulterers are
among several steps being taken to broaden the rights of women in Iran.
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