News24

Adulterers escape stoning

2009-10-05 15:30

Tehran - An Iranian man and woman convicted of adultery and who faced death by stoning have been freed on appeal after spending six years behind bars, ILNA news agency reported on Monday.

It said that Gholam Ali Eskandari and Gilan Mohammadi were released on Sunday in the central city of Isfahan after their defence lawyers won the appeal.

In August 2008, the judiciary said it would scrap stoning as a punishment in Iran's new Islamic penal code, the outlines of which have been adopted by parliament the details have yet to be debated by MPs.

Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, serious drug trafficking, repeated sodomy, adultery or prostitution, treason and espionage.

Under Iran's existing law, adultery is still punishable by stoning, which involves the hurling of stones in public at a partially buried convict. A man is buried up to his waist and a woman up to her shoulders.

Convicts are spared if they can free themselves.

Stoning has drawn international condemnation, with the United Nations, European Union and Iranian human rights campaigners calling on the Islamic republic to abolish the sentence.