Amnesty International is calling on the government of Iran to abolish the practice of stoning. Iranian law prescribes stoning as a means of executing married persons who have committed adultery. The Iranian government claims the practice has been halted. But in fact several people have been stoned to death in Iran in recent years. According to Amnesty International, nine women and two men in Iran currently face execution by stoning.
Stoning is not the only appalling punishment used by the Iranian authorities after flawed trials. Earlier this month in the province of Sistan va Baluchistan in southeast Iran, authorities amputated the right hands and left feet of five men charged with robbery. The province is home to Iran’s ethnic Baluch minority. It has been the scene of increasing unrest amid complaints of religious and ethnic discrimination by the Iranian government.
Iranian Nobel peace prize-winner and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi protested the amputations in Sistan va Baluchistan. A written statement issued by the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, headed by Ms. Ebadi, said, “Unfortunately, the violation of human rights in Iran has not only been expanded in some fields, it has also found new dimensions.” Ms. Ebadi said in an interview, “We have constantly protested the existence of such punishments in our penal code. But the government ignores our protest.”
The Iranian government has repeatedly shown both a willingness to trample on the rights of its citizens by denying them fair trials and a disregard for the most basic international standards of human rights. The United States cosponsored a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Iran’s human rights record for the past five years, joining the international community this year in expressing serious concern at the use of stoning as a method of execution, and the continued issuing of sentences of execution by stoning.
In a recent speech, President George W. Bush said, “The day will come, said Mr. Bush, “when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice. . .And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States.”