Monday, March 31, 2008

Stoning Must Take Place in Public

Qom Friday Prayer Leader

While less than two months have passed since the head of Iran’s judiciary issued orders ‎for the suspension of “public executions”, the Friday prayer leader of religious town of ‎Qom, ayatollah Amini, said at a public prayer on Friday, “Stoning must take place in ‎public.”‎

In Iran stoning is used as a method of execution on singles who engage in sex with ‎another person other than their own spouse. This form of punishment is executed in Iran ‎following the testimony of four witnesses in a court of law which must rule on the ‎fairness of the individuals. If a suspect himself confesses to the act four times, the court ‎too may consider the confession to constitute testimony.‎

Ayatollah Amini also said that some judgments were in line with implementing God’s ‎orders and whose implementation should not be hesitated. “A woman who has committed ‎fornication has to be punished in public,” he said, adding “Just because our enemies may ‎view Islam to be violent should not be a reason not to implement Sharia punishment. ‎Foreigners do not desire Islam and we cannot execute divine laws according to their ‎wishes. If Islamic laws are implemented accurately we will not have the fornication ‎problems we face today.”‎

Observers have interpreted the words of this cleric in a town that is recognized as the ‎center that trains clerics in their religious beliefs and matters to be a response to the ‎recent release of a woman who had been sentenced to be stoned eleven years ago. This ‎woman, Mokarameh Ebrahimi, was charged with having inappropriate relations and was ‎sentenced to stoning and spent the last eleven years in prison was released last week. ‎

The issue of stoning and its codification into Iranian criminal law is a controversial ‎subject in the country. On November 21st 2006 the spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary ‎publicly announced that “while stoning was part of the Iranian penal code, it would not ‎be implemented any more.” But despite that announcement, stoning was implemented ‎after the date. The best known case involved Jaafar Kiani in Takistan. He was sentenced ‎to stoning along with Mokarameh Ebrahimi with who he had been charged to have ‎engaged in sexual activity. When the court sentenced these two individuals, Mokarameh ‎had left her family and husband 10 years earlier and had lived with Jaafar for a few years ‎with whom she had given birth to a child.‎

In this regard, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Human Rights in the Iranian ‎judiciary had earlier said that the stoning of a man in Takistan was due to a “mistake by ‎the judge” while adding that “we are not ashamed to implement this form of ‎punishment.” In an interview with ISNA student news agency, Larijani has said, “Some ‎think that we are ashamed to implement these judgments because the West curses us for ‎them. This is not the case because the principles of Shiite jurisprudence and law, and ‎those following Mohammad, are not things to be ashamed of.”‎

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