PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/005/2009
16 January 2009
UA 10/09 Death penalty/stoning
IRAN Gilan Mohammadi (f), aged about 30
Gholamali Eskandari (m)
The two people detained above are believed to have been detained since 2003, and were sentenced to death
by stoning probably in 2005 or 2006. Their sentences are believed to have been confirmed by the Supreme
Court sometime in 2008. The Head of the Judiciary declared a moratorium on executions by stoning in 2002,
but at least five people are known to have been stoned to death since then, two of them on 26 December
Gilan Mohammadi and Gholamali Eskandari were sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. They are held in
Esfahan Central Prison, in the centre of the country.
Two lawyers travelled to Esfahan on 14 January hoping to meet them, and become their legal representatives,
but were prevented from doing so by several prison and judicial officials. The Esfahan judicial authorities
eventually said that this would only be possible if the two convicts first asked to meet with lawyers. One of the
lawyers, Mohammad Mostafaie, mentioned in his blog that he never came across such requirements in this
professional life and that he feared, based on his past experience with judicial officials in Esfahan that the
authorities were preparing to carry out the executions.
In an interview printed in the 15 January issue of the newspaper ‘Etemad-e Melli, the other lawyer, Shadi
Sadr, said that the action of the judicial officials in Esfahan was against the law, and that these two people
had been denied their right to legal representation. She said that she and her colleague intended to complain
about this, so that Gilan Mohammadi and Gholamali Eskandari are granted their right to legal representation.
Stoning in Iran is prescribed for the offence of "adultery while being married." In 2002, the Head of the
Judiciary introduced in a directive a moratorium on executions by stoning. In August 2008, the spokesman for
the judiciary, Ali Reza Jamshidi, said that stonings had been halted. However, at least four men and one
woman have been stoned to death since 2002. Most recently, two men were stoned to death in Mashhad on
or around 26 December 2008; a third man managed to free himself from the pit in which he was to be stoned.
In a 13 January press conference, Ali Reza Jamshidi confirmed that the December 2008 stonings had taken
place. He also said that the directive on the moratorium had no legal weight and judges were therefore free to
In 2007, a revised Penal Code was submitted to Iran’s parliament for approval, and is still under
consideration. This new version still provides for the penalty of stoning, but also states that should the
implementation of the penalty cause "harm to the system," it can, on the proposal of the prosecutor in the
case and with the approval of the Head of the Judiciary, be changed to execution by other methods or to 100
lashes, depending on the type of proof.