Death by Stoning for Adultery (Iran). Criminalisation of Adultery is the Problem, not the Stoning

Iranian Official: Western ‘Propaganda’ Won’t Stop Woman’s Execution By Stoning

Government officials, celebrities and ordinary citizens from around the world have joined international human-rights organizations in a growing campaign against the stoning sentence given to Ms. Mohammadi Ashtiani. She was first convicted on May 15, 2006, of having an “illicit relationship” with two men, for which she received 99 lashes. At a subsequent trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, Ms. Mohammadi Ashtiani was charged with “adultery while being married”. It is for that crime that she has been sentenced to death by stoning.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a repeat offender. Already got 99 lashes for “illicit relationship” with two men, and then committed “adultery while being married”. Prof. Farhang, who resigned his diplomatic post over the holding of U.S. hostages in Tehran in 1979 and now teaches political science at Bennington College in Vermont, says the international campaign against the execution by stoning is having an effect.

“You hear two kinds of arguments,” he said. “Some attack the execution just because of the reprehensible nature of stoning. That’s widely heard inside Iran and among Iranians,” he said.

“Others attack the sentence because they’re opposed to any form of capital punishment,” he added. “That’s a more common international sentiment.”

The outcome of all that, Farhang, says, might be an execution by other means (hanging or shooting), but it might well be a commuting of Ms. Mohammadi Ashtiani’s death sentence.

  1. What is the logic behind heavy penalties for illicit sexual relationships and adultery?
    In antiquity, When the Bible and the Koran were written, there were no birth control nor genetic paternity tests. Drakonian laws against adultery and pre-marital sex gave men sufficient trust that they were investing their life’s work and effort in their own offspring and not someone elses kid.
    The Koran and the Bible were right, in their times: such laws could contribute to stability of family and society.  Religious dogma and zealotism, unfortunately, prevent any rational modern re-analysis of these topics in the face of birth control and DNA testing.
  2. Should people get heavy penalties for illicit sexual relationships and adultery?
    Looking at things from a more rational point of view, I believe there is strong enough motive to prohibit people from having fun and enjoy their sexuality. Emphasis should be on birth control and disease prevention. Interestingly, protests are about stoning, not about being punished with death for adultery. Life in prison for adultery should be ok then?
    Interestingly, there are no strong protests about the 99 lashes for sexual relationships and severe punishment for adultery. Sure, who are we, in Western countries, who give Genarlow Wilson a 10 year jail sentence for having oral sex with a girl 2 years younger then him (see more drakonian punishments in the section about teenage sexuality)
  3. Punishment for Aultery?
    If someone enters a marriage contract and swears sexual faithgulness, maybe s/he should be punished for breach of contract. Of course, the problem is that there is no freedom to negotiate the conditions of a marriage contract. Maybe marriage should be negotiable, with open free marriage being an option.
  4. Are stoning and death penalty legitimate?
    Maybe we need stricter laws for real heinous crimes by incurable repeat offenders such as violent hooligans, street gangs, bullies who clearly damage their victims and instill insecurity in society. Maybe such people should be executed. Maybe stoning would be very appropriate.

  • Human Rights: more concern with criminals then with honest law abiding citizens (1):
    Society and good law abiding citizens, children suffer fear, insecurity, bodily harm because such incurable criminals are afforded human rights.   Have you seen how safe people are in Saudi Arabia, and how insecure and terrified one is if walking around at night in many modern Western cities? Maybe Human Rights for criminals cause immense societal harm, crime, insecurity. Maybe it is better to kill 1000 criminals if that makes 5000 less murder vitims and 50 million less people living in fear. An example is Brazil, where a military dictatorship killed 300 people in 10 years. This is less then the monthly the death toll from criminal assassination in Rio de Janeiro alone.
  • Human Rights: more concern with criminals then with honest law abiding citizens (2):
    human rights are immensely concerned with criminal’s well beings. There are huge concerns that in legal US executions, a criminal suffers for 5 minutes. But there are terminally ill who scream and plead for mercy, to be allowed to die or be put to a merciful death. And they have to live. Or maximum, one can turn off life support so they can starve to death, or drown to death with water in their lungs. Religion is funny. But that is not funny any more, it is cruel.
  • I am aware that there are claims that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani committed other unnamed crimes, but even if this were so, other people suffer similar accusations and punishments.

    According to one site, Roozonline, popular with ex-patriot Iranian journalists, there are as many as 15 people convicted of adultery in the same Tabriz courts. They are said to be in danger of receiving the same sentence as Ms. Mohammadi Ashtiani.

    Intellpuke: You can read this article by Globe and Mail journalist Patrick Martin in context here:

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