Posted: 07 February 2008
Amnesty International today warned that two sisters, Zohreh and Azar Kabiri-niat are facing execution by stoning, for "adultery’, in Iran. Amnesty International members in the UK and around the world are calling on the authorities to commute the sentences of death by stoning immediately.
The women were arrested on 4 February 2007 after Zohreh Kabiri-niat’s husband filed a complaint against her and her sisters, Azar and Azzam, and also Azar’s husband, Mohammadreza Bodaghi, and another man. He claimed that they had had ‘illicit relations’ and submitted as evidence video footage from a camera he had secretly installed in his house, which reportedly showed the two women with another man.
The five were tried in March 2007 and sentenced to flogging for "having illicit relations"; Zohreh also received five years’ imprisonment for forming ‘a centre of corruption’. But after the floggings were carried out, fresh charges of "committing adultery while being married" were brought against Zohreh and Azar Kabiri-niat. On 6 August 2007. Both were found guilty and were sentenced to death by stoning.
The charge of "adultery" was substantiated solely by the judge’s ‘knowledge’, based on the video evidence and statements the sisters had made during their interrogation. Zohreh Kabiri-niat later said, "I do not accept my ‘confessions’ under interrogations, and I deny whatever it is that they claim I said."
A new version of the Iranian Penal Code is currently under consideration by the Majles, which, if passed, would appear to allow for stoning sentences to be changed to execution by other means or flogging.