13 Aug 2010

Adulteress to be stoned, or hanged?

I’m distracted by the latest story of an Iranian woman Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who is found guilty of adultery and is to suffer capital punishment. In her case it was to be stoning to death. Oh I forgot to mention that she was also sentenced to 90 lashes by another court – presumably before the stoning to her death.

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However, Iran has come under international pressure to do something different than stoning. Largely the international community sees stoning to death as barbaric – to put it in a nutshell.

Yesterday she reportedly confessed on TV – the thing to do if yurr innocent or facing a death penalty in such shameful circumstances (at least relative to her culture)! Innit? What exactly did she confess to?

It is reported in The Hindu that “Iran’s judiciary once ordered the courts to halt stoning sentences due to negative international impact and to use alternative punishments instead, but some courts continue to issue the sentence, especially in the provinces.” So – some judges/courts may bow to international pressure and some may not. Errh.. like how? And how arbitrary is that?

There is now a suggestion that Sakineh will not be stoned. There is wild speculation that she could be hanged or just locked away for a long time.

But in another amazing twist, Sakineh’s lawyer Mohammad Mostafaie legged it to Norway and is seeking Asylum there. He said in that linked article – having rescued 18 of his 40 clients facing death sentences in Iran, that “.. he was finally forced to flee after a warrant was issued for his arrest at the end of July”. This chap is in even bigger trouble than he might imagine, as he now reportedly asserts that Sakineh was tortured into giving a TV confession!! Presumably he may have committed some crime. If caught, will he be turned upside down and stoned to death upon his ‘little head’? Their God knows what next, I suppose.

I’m in a state of confusion because:

  1. It would appear that an Islamic state/regime is guided by Islamic religious principles in it’s laws. That leads me to ask, do Islamic religious principles condone or suggest a) death penalty for such offences, b) death penalty by stoning for the offence of adultery?
  2. How can international pressure affect court decisions in such an arbitrary fashion as is reported? Are those media reports on the legal situation correct – and if so do principles of Islamic law or religion permit such arbitrariness?

Do I have reason to fear any discomfort for my act of highlighting the issues above and asking the above questions? I would sincerely appreciate if someone out there with greater knowledge of Islamic legal, cultural and religious issues can help me to resolve my confused state of mind on this story. If I am a ‘victim of the media’ then show me the truth and light the path – please. 

Jumbie is of course constrained to endorsing the capital punishment of people for crimes that are so utterly vile and repugnant, relative to cultural and legal traditions – so ah don’t expect any assistance from his department!! Ah doh know eef he go get choosey now about ‘method’ or ‘means’ of capital punishment. Tut tut. His silence may well deafen us eh? (^_~).