File:Marx Reichlich 001.jpg

Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, painted in 1506 by Marx Reichlich (1460–1520)
(Pinakothek of Munich)

Stoning, or lapidation, is a method of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until they die. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject. This is in contrast to the case of a judicial executioner. Slower than other forms of execution, stoning within the context of contemporary Western culture is considered a form of execution by torture.

Stoning is called rajm (Arabic: Template:Large) in Islamic literature, and is a practice found in the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, northern Nigeria, Aceh Province of Indonesia, Afghanistan, and partsTemplate:Which of Pakistan.[1][2][3] In some countries, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, stoning has been declared illegal by the state, but is practiced extrajudicially.[2] In several others, people have been sentenced to death by stoning, but the sentence has not been carried out. In modern times, allegations of stoning are politically sensitive; the government of Iran, for example, describes allegations of stoning as political propaganda.[4]

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In history[edit | edit source]

In Judaism[edit | edit source]

Torah[edit | edit source]

The Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) serves as a common religious reference for Judaism. Stoning is the method of execution mentioned most frequently in the Torah. (Murder is not mentioned as an offense punishable by stoning, but it seems that a member of the victim's family was allowed to kill the murderer; see avenger of blood.) The crimes punishable by stoning were the following:

  • An ox that gores someone to death should be stoned, Exodus 21:28
  • Breaking Sabbath, Numbers 15:32–36
  • Male homosexual practices, Leviticus 20:13; both parties should be stoned
  • Enticing others to polytheism, Deuteronomy 13:7–11
  • Cursing God, Leviticus 24:10–16
  • Engaging in idolatry, Deuteronomy 17:2–7; or seducing others to do so, Deuteronomy 13:7–12
  • "Rebellion" against parents, after repeated warnings, Deuteronomy 21:18–21
  • Getting married as though a virgin, when not a virgin, Deuteronomy 22:13–21
  • Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man in a town, together, since she did not cry out (extramarital sex), Deuteronomy 22:23–24; both parties should be stoned to death
  • Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man in a field, forced, where no one could hear her cries and save her (rape), Deuteronomy 22:25–27; the man should be stoned

Describing the stoning of apostates from Judaism, the Torah states:

If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [Namely], of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Deuteronomy 13:6–10[5]

A conspicuous concrete case noted in the Bible was that of Achan, stoned to death together with his sheep, other livestock and his children for having pillaged valuables from Jericho during Joshua's Conquest of Canaan. The inclusion of the children in the punishment was troubling to later Jewish commentators, who wrote much about the case.[citation needed]

Mishna[edit | edit source]

The Talmud describes four methods of execution: stoning, pouring molten lead down the throat of the condemned person, beheading, and strangulation (see Capital and corporal punishment in Judaism). The Mishna gives the following list of persons who should be stoned.[6][7]

"To the following sinners stoning applies – אלו הן הנסקלין

  • with his father's wife – ועל אשת האב
  • with his daughter-in-law – ועל הכלה
  • and the same is the case with a woman who uncovers herself before cattle – והאשה המביאה את הבהמה
  • with a blasphemer – והמגדף
  • an idolater – והעובד עבודת כוכבים
  • he who sacrifices one of his children to Molech – והנותן מזרעו למולך
  • one that occupies himself with familiar spirits – ובעל אוב
  • a wizard – וידעוני
  • one who violates Sabbath – והמחלל את השבת
  • one who curses his father or mother – והמקלל אביו ואמו
  • one who has assaulted a betrothed damsel – והבא על נערה המאורסה
  • a seducer who has seduced men to worship idols – והמסית
  • and the one who misleads a whole town – והמדיח
  • a witch (male or female) – והמכשף
  • a stubborn and rebellious son – ובן סורר ומורה"

As God alone was deemed to be the only arbiter in the use of capital punishment, not fallible people, the Sanhedrin made stoning a hypothetical upper limit on the severity of punishment.[8]

File:Botticcelli, Sandro - The Punishment of Korah and the Stoning of Moses and Aaron - 1481-82.jpg

The Punishment of Korah and the Stoning of Moses and Aaron (1480–1482), by Sandro Botticelli, Sistine Chapel, Rome.

Prior to early Christianity, particularly in the Mishnah, doubts were growing in Jewish society about the effectiveness of capital punishment in general (and stoning in particular) in acting as a useful deterrent. Subsequently its use was dissuaded by the central legislators. The Mishnah states:

A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says that this extends to a Sanhedrin that puts a man to death even once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon say: Had we been in the Sanhedrin none would ever have been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says: they would have multiplied shedders of blood in Israel.[9]

In the following centuries the leading Jewish sages imposed so many restrictions on the implementation of capital punishment as to make it de facto illegal. The restrictions were to prevent execution of the innocent, and included many conditions for a testimony to be admissible that were difficult to fulfill.

Philosopher Moses Maimonides wrote, "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death."[10] He was concerned that the law guard its public perception, to preserve its majesty and retain the people's respect. He saw errors of commission as much more threatening to the integrity of law than errors of omission.[11]

Mode of Judgment[edit | edit source]

In rabbinic law, capital punishment may only be inflicted by the verdict of a regularly constituted court of twenty-three qualified members. There must be the most trustworthy and convincing testimony of at least two qualified eyewitnesses to the crime, who must also depose that the culprit had been forewarned of the criminality and the consequences of his project.[7] The culprit must be a person of legal age and of sound mind, and the crime must be proved to have been committed of the culprit's free will and without the aid of others.

On the day the verdict is pronounced, the convict is led forth to execution. The Torah law (Leviticus 19:18) prescribes, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"; and the Rabbis maintain that this love must be extended beyond the limits of social intercourse in life, and applied even to the convicted criminal who, "though a sinner, is still thy brother" (Mak. 3:15; Sanh. 44a): "The spirit of love must be manifested by according him a decent death" (Sanh. 45a, 52a). Torah law provides (Deut. 24:16), "The parents shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the parents; every man shall be put to death for his own sins", and rabbinic jurisprudence follows this principle both to the letter and in spirit. A sentence is not attended by confiscation of the convict's goods; the person's possessions descend to their legal heirs.

The Talmud limits the use of the death penalty to Jewish criminals who:

  • (A) while about to do the crime were warned not to commit the crime while in the presence of two witnesses (and only individuals who meet a strict list of standards are considered acceptable witnesses); and
  • (B) having been warned, committed the crime in front of the same two witnesses.[12]

In theory, the Talmudic method of how stoning is to be carried out differs from mob stoning. According to the Jewish oral law, after the Jewish criminal has been determined as guilty before the Great Sanhedrin, the two valid witnesses and the sentenced criminal go to the edge of a two story building. From there the two witnesses are to push the criminal off the roof of a two story building. The two-story height is chosen as this height is estimated by the Talmud to effect a quick and painless demise but is not so high that the body will become dismembered. After the criminal has fallen, the two witnesses are to drop a large boulder onto the criminal – requiring both of the witnesses to lift the boulder together. If the criminal did not die from the fall or from the crushing of the large boulder, then any people in the surrounding area are to quickly cause him to die by stoning with whatever rocks they can find.

In Islam[edit | edit source]

File:Amellie - Stoning of the devil 2006 Hajj.jpg

Stoning of the Devil, 2006 Hajj

Islamic sharia law is based on the Quran and the hadith as primary sources. Stoning in the Sunnah mainly follows on the Jewish stoning rules of the Torah. A few hadiths refer to Muhammad ordering the stoning of a married Jewish man and a married woman committing an illegal sexual act after Torah.[13] In a few others, a Bedouin man is lashed, while a woman is stoned to death, for having sex outside marriage.[14]

The Qur'an forbids all sexual intercourse outside the marital bond between a man and a woman as sinful, but makes no distinction between illegal sex outside marriage and illegal sex between an unmarried man and a woman. Verse 24:2 of the Quran declares that the punishment for consensual but illegal sex is flogging with 100 strokes, but it makes no mention of stoning.[15] Some modern Muslim scholars suggest that stoning to death should not be part of sharia, because only Quran should be the basis of sharia, and hadiths should not be considered a source of sharia. The vast majority of Muslims and most Islamic scholars, however, consider hadiths, which describe the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad during his life, as a source of law and religious authority second only to the Quran. They consider sahih hadiths to be a valid source of Sharia, justifying their belief on Quranic verse 33.21,[16] and other verses.[17][18][19]

When one carefully compares Qur'an Surah 4 Ayat 25, and, Surah 24 Ayat 2, it seems illogical for the interpretation of Hadith which permits stoning for Muslims to be correct, within the context that it is not possible to have half of death.

Hadiths[edit | edit source]

Stoning is described as punishment in multiple hadiths.[20][21][22] Shia and Sunni hadith collections differ because scholars from the two traditions differ as to the reliability of the narrators and transmitters and the Imamah. Shi'a sayings related to stoning can be found in Kitab al-Kafi,[23] and Sunni sayings related to stoning can be found in the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.[24] Based on these hadiths, in some Muslim countries, married adulterers are sentenced to death, while consensual sex between unmarried people results in 100 lashes.

Crimes in the Qur'an are divided into three categories based on the prescribed punishment for the offence. The first category is Hudud, which is considered a religious crime against God and the punishment is execution. Zina is one of the Hudud crimes, stated to deserve the stoning punishment.[25][26] Zina includes extramarital sex, rape, premarital sex and homosexuality.[26][27][28]

Hadiths describe stoning as punishment under sharia.[21][22][29] In others stoning is prescribed as punishment for illegal sex between man and woman,[30] illegal sex by a slave girl, as well as anyone involved in any homosexual relations.[21][31] In some sunnah, the method of stoning, by first digging a pit and partly burying the person's lower half in it, is described.[32][33]




Legal commentary in fiqhs[edit | edit source]

According to some traditionalist middle-age jurists like the Hanbali jurist Ibn Qudamah, "Muslim jurists are unanimous on the fact that stoning to death is a specified punishment for the married adulterer and adulteress. The punishment is recorded in number of traditions and the practice of Muhammad stands as an authentic source supporting it. This is the view held by all Companions, Successors and other Muslim scholars with the exception of Kharijites."[34]

Maliki school of jurisprudence (fiqh) holds that stoning is the required punishment for illegal sex by a married person, as well as for any form of homosexual relations.[21] In Al-Muwatta, the 8th century Sunni Islamic scholar Malik ibn Anas states that pregnancy in a free Muslim woman is one form of sufficient proof of adultery and she must be stoned to death.[35][36]

All Sunni fiqhs, as well as Volume 7 of the Shi'ite hadith, The Book of Legal Penalties in Kitab al-Kafi, declare stoning as the required punishment for sex that is not allowed under sharia.[37]

Aztecs[edit | edit source]

Stoning appears to have been practiced by the Aztecs.[citation needed]

File:Sacrificio azteca.jpg

An Aztec adulterer being stoned to death; Florentine Codex

Usage today[edit | edit source]

As of September 2010, stoning is a punishment that is included in the laws in some countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and some predominantly Muslim states in northern Nigeria as punishment for Zina ("adultery by married persons").[38][39][40]

File:A map showing countries where public stoning is judicial or extrajudicial form of punishment.SVG

A map showing countries where public stoning is a judicial or extrajudicial form of punishment, as of 2013.[1]

Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

See also: Murder of Farkhunda

Stoning is illegal in Afghanistan, but is sometimes carried out by tribal leaders[2][41][42][43] and Taliban insurgents extrajudicially in certain parts of the country.[42][43][44][45] Before the Taliban government, most areas of Afghanistan, aside from the capital, Kabul, were controlled by warlords or tribal leaders. The Afghan legal system depended highly on an individual community's local culture and the political or religious ideology of its leaders. Stoning also occurred in lawless areas, where vigilantes committed the act for political purposes. Once the Taliban took over, it became a form of punishment for certain serious crimes or adultery. After the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration re-enforced the 1976 penal code which made no provision for the use of stoning as a punishment. In 2013, the Ministry of Justice proposed public stoning as punishment for adultery.[46] However, the government had to back down from the proposal after it was leaked and triggered international outcry.[43] While stoning is officially banned in Afghanistan, it has continued to be reported occasionally as a crime.[44][47][48][49]

Brunei[edit | edit source]

In October 2013, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced that stoning, along with flogging and amputations, would be added to the country's laws in accordance with sharia law.[50]

Indonesia[edit | edit source]

On 14 September 2009, the outgoing Aceh Legislative Council passed a bylaw that called for the stoning of married adulterers.[51] However, then governor Irwandi Yusuf refused to sign the bylaw, thereby keeping it a law without legal force and, in some views, therefore still a law draft, rather than actual law.[52] In March 2013, the Aceh government removed the stoning provision from its own draft of a new criminal code.[53]

Iran[edit | edit source]

The Iranian judiciary officially placed a moratorium on stoning in 2002; however, in 2007, the Iranian judiciary confirmed that a man who had been convicted of adultery 10 years earlier, was stoned to death in Qazvin province.[54] In 2008, the judiciary tried to eliminate the punishment from the books in legislation submitted to parliament for approval.[55] In 2009, two people were stoned to death in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province as punishment for the crime of adultery.[56] In early 2013, a spokesman for judicial committee of Iran's parliament stated that stoning is no longer mentioned in Iran's legislation, but that punishment will remain the same as it is in Islamic law. He questioned Western enmity against Iran, and termed the campaign to remove rajm as noise against the implementation of Islamic law in Iran.[57] Legal scholars[58] concur that while certain stoning-related passages have been removed from Iran's new penal code, other passages in the new code refer to stoning, and stoning remains as a possible form of punishment under the new Iranian penal code. Most known case in Iran was stoning Soraya in 1986.


In the 2008 version of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran detailed how stoning punishments are to be carried out for adultery, and even hints in some contexts that the punishment may allow for its victims to avoid death:[59]

Article 102 – An adulterous man shall be buried in a ditch up to near his waist and an adulterous woman up to near her chest and then stoned to death.

Article 103 – In case the person sentenced to stoning escapes the ditch in which they are buried, then if the adultery is proven by testimony then they will be returned for the punishment but if it is proven by their own confession then they will not be returned.[59]

Article 104 – The size of the stone used in stoning shall not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws and at the same time shall not be too small to be called a stone.[59]

Depending upon the details of the case, the stoning may be initiated by the judge overseeing the matter or by one of the original witnesses to the adultery.[59] Certain religious procedures may also need to be followed both before and after the implementation of a stoning execution, such as wrapping the person being stoned in traditional burial dress before the procedure.[60]

The method of stoning set out in the 2008 code was similar to that in a 1999 version of Iran's penal code.[61] Iran revised its penal code in 2013. The new code does not include the above passages, but does include stoning as a hadd punishment.[58] For example, Book I, Part III, Chapter 5, Article 132 of the new Islamic Penal Code (IPC) of 2013 in the Islamic Republic of Iran states, "If a man and a woman commit zina together more than one time, if the death penalty and flogging or stoning and flogging are imposed, only the death penalty or stoning, whichever is applicable, shall be executed".[62] Book 2, Part II, Chapter 1, Article 225 of the Iran's IPC released in 2013 states, "the hadd punishment for zina of a man and a woman who meet the conditions of ihsan shall be stoning to death".[62][63]

Iraq[edit | edit source]

In 2007, Du'a Khalil Aswad, a Yazidi girl, was stoned by her fellow tribesmen in northern Iraq for dating a Muslim boy.[64]

In 2012 at least 14 youths were stoned to death in Baghdad, apparently as part of a Shi'ite militant campaign against Western-style "emo" fashion.[65]

An Iraqi man was stoned to death, in August 2014, in the northern city of Mosul after one Sunni Islamic court sentenced him to die for the crime of adultery.[66]

Nigeria[edit | edit source]

Since the sharia legal system was introduced in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria in 2000, more than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning for sexual offences ranging from adultery to homosexuality. However, none of these sentences has actually been carried out. They have either been thrown out on appeal or commuted to prison terms as a result of pressure from human rights groups.[67][68][69]

Pakistan[edit | edit source]

As part of Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization measures, stoning to death (rajm) at a public place was introduced into law via the 1979 Hudood Ordinances as punishment for adultery (zina) and rape (zina-bil-jabr) when committed by a married person.[70] However, stoning has never been officially utilized since the law came into effect and all judicial executions occur by hanging.[71] The first conviction and sentence of stoning (of Fehmida and Allah-Bakhsh) in September 1981 was overturned under national and international pressure. A conviction for adultery of Safia Bibi, a 13-year-old blind girl who alleged that she was raped by her employer and his son, was reversed and the conviction was set aside on appeal after bitter public criticism. Another conviction for adultery and sentence of stoning (of Shahida Parveen and Muhammad Sarwar) in early 1988 sparked outrage and led to a retrial and acquittal by the Federal Sharia Court. In this case the trial court took the view that notice of divorce by Shahida's former husband, Khushi Muhammad, should have been given to the Chairman of the local council, as stipulated under Section-7(3) of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961. This section states that any man who divorces his wife must register it with the Union Council. Otherwise, the court concluded that the divorce stood invalidated and the couple became liable to conviction under the Adultery ordinance. In 2006, the ordinances providing for stoning in the case of adultery or rape were legislatively demoted from overriding status.[72]

Extrajudicial stonings in Pakistan have been known to happen in recent times. In March 2013, Pakistani soldier Anwar Din, stationed in Parachinar, was publicly stoned to death for allegedly having a love affair with a girl from a village in the country's north western Kurram Agency.[73] On 11 July 2013, Arifa Bibi, a young mother of two, was sentenced by a tribal court in Dera Ghazi Khan District, in Punjab, to be stoned to death for possessing a cell phone. Members of her family were ordered to execute her sentence and her body was buried in the desert far away from her village.[2][74]

In February 2014, a couple in a remote area of Baluchistan province was stoned to death after being accused of an adulterous relationship.[75] On 27 May 2014, Farzana Parveen, a 25-year-old married woman who was three months pregnant, was killed by being attacked with batons and bricks by nearly 20 members of her family outside the high court of Lahore in front of "a crowd of onlookers" according to a statement by a police investigator. The assailants, who allegedly included her father and brothers, attacked Farzana and her husband Mohammad Iqbal with batons and bricks. Her father Mohammad Azeem, who was arrested for murder, reportedly called the murder an "honor killing" and said "I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent."[76] The man whose second wife Farzana had become, Iqbal, told a news agency that he had strangled his previous wife in order to marry Farzana, and police said that he had been released for killing his first wife because a "compromise" had been reached with his family.[77]

Saudi Arabia[edit | edit source]

Legal stoning sentences have been reported in Saudi Arabia.[78][79]

Sudan[edit | edit source]

In May 2012, a Sudanese court convicted Intisar Sharif Abdallah of adultery and sentenced her to death; the charges were appealed and dropped two months later.[80] In July 2012, a criminal court in Khartoum, Sudan, sentenced 23-year-old Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul to death by stoning for adultery.[81] Amnesty International reported that she was denied legal counsel during the trial and was convicted only on the basis of her confession. The organization designated her a prisoner of conscience, "held in detention solely for consensual sexual relations", and lobbied for her release.[80]

Somalia[edit | edit source]

In October 2008, a girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, was buried up to her neck at a Somalian football stadium, then stoned to death in front of more than 1,000 people. The stoning occurred after she had allegedly pleaded guilty to adultery in a sharia court in Kismayo, a city controlled by Islamist insurgents. According to the insurgents she had stated that she wanted sharia law to apply.[82] However, other sources state that the victim had been crying, had begged for mercy and had to be forced into the hole before being buried up to her neck in the ground.[83] Amnesty International later learned that the girl was in fact 13 years old and had been arrested by al-Shabab militia after she had reported being gang-raped by three men.[84]

In December 2009, another instance of stoning was publicised after Mohamed Abukar Ibrahim was accused of adultery by the Hizbul Islam militant group.[85]

In September 2014, Somali al Shabaab militants stoned a woman to death, after she was declared guilty of adultery by an informal court.[86]

United Arab Emirates[edit | edit source]

Stoning is a legal form of judicial punishment in UAE. In 2006, an expatriate was sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.[87] Between 2009 and 2013, several people were sentenced to death by stoning.[88][89][90] In May 2014, an Asian housemaid was sentenced to death by stoning in Abu Dhabi.[91][92][93]

ISIL[edit | edit source]

Several adultery executions by stoning committed by IS have been reported in the autumn of 2014.[94][95][96] The Islamic State's magazine, Dabiq, documented the stoning of a woman in Raqqa as a punishment for adultery.[97]

In October 2014, IS released a video appearing to show a Syrian man stone his daughter to death for alleged adultery.[96][98]

Views[edit | edit source]

Support for stoning[edit | edit source]

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013 found varying support in the global Muslim population for stoning as a punishment for adultery. Highest support for stoning is found among Muslims of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asian countries while generally less support is found among Muslims living in Mediterranean and Central Asian countries. In half of the surveyed countries with adequate sample sizes, at least half of Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land also support stoning unfaithful spouses.[99]

Groups against stoning[edit | edit source]

Stoning has been condemned by several human rights organizations. Some groups, such as Amnesty International[100] and Human Rights Watch, oppose all capital punishment, including stoning. Other groups, such as RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), or the International Committee against Stoning (ICAS), oppose stoning per se as an especially cruel practice.

Specific sentences of stoning, such as the Amina Lawal case, have often generated international protest. Groups such as Human Rights Watch,[101] while in sympathy with these protests, have raised a concern that the Western focus on stoning as an especially "exotic" or "barbaric" act distracts from what they view as the larger problems of capital punishment. They argue that the "more fundamental human rights issue in Nigeria is the dysfunctional justice system."

In Iran, the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign was formed by various women's rights activists after a man and a woman were stoned to death in Mashhad in May 2006. The campaign's main goal is to legally abolish stoning as a form of punishment for adultery in Iran.[102]

Human rights[edit | edit source]

Stoning is condemned by human rights groups as a form of cruel and unusual punishment and torture, and a serious violation of human rights.[103][104]

Women's rights[edit | edit source]

Stoning has been condemned as a violation of women's rights and a form of discrimination against women. Although stoning is also applied to men, the vast majority of the victims are reported to be women.[105][106][107]

According to the international group Women Living Under Muslim Laws stoning "is one of the most brutal forms of violence perpetrated against women in order to control and punish their sexuality and basic freedoms".[108]

Amnesty International has argued that the reasons for which women suffer disproportionately from stoning include the fact that women are not treated equally and fairly by the courts; the fact that, being more likely to be illiterate than men, women are more likely to sign confessions to crimes which they did not commit; and the fact that general discrimination against women in other life aspects leaves them at higher risk of convictions for adultery.[109]

LGBT rights[edit | edit source]

Stoning also targets homosexuals and others who have same-sex relations in certain jurisdictions. In Mauritania,[1] northern Nigeria,[110] Somalia[1] and Yemen,[1] the legal punishment for sodomy is death by stoning.

Right to private life[edit | edit source]

Human rights organizations argue that many acts targeted by stoning should not be illegal in the first place, as outlawing them interferes with people's right to a private life. Amnesty International said that stoning deals with "acts which should never be criminalized in the first place, including consensual sexual relations between adults, and choosing one’s religion".[103]

Cases of stoning or attempts at stoning[edit | edit source]

File:St stephen stoning.jpg

The stoning of Saint Stephen (1863) by Gabriel-Jules Thomas

People stoned in religious texts[edit | edit source]

In the Tanakh (Old Testament):

In the New Testament:

In the Talmud

People who were almost stoned in religious texts[edit | edit source]

In the Tanakh and Old Testament:

In the New Testament:

  • The captain of the Temple and his officers feared that they might be stoned by the people of Jerusalem for preventing the Apostles from preaching about Jesus (Template:Bibleverse)

Historical cases not mentioned above[edit | edit source]

  • Saint Eskil, Anglo-Saxon monk stoned to death by Swedish Vikings, about 1080
  • Moctezuma II, 1520, last Aztec Emperor (according to Western accounts; whereas, according to Aztec accounts, the Spanish killed him)

Modern[edit | edit source]

  • Soraya Manutchehri, 1986, stoned to death in Iran after unconfirmed accusations of adultery
  • Mahboubeh M. and Abbas H., at Behest-e Zahra cemetery, southern Teheran, Iran, 2006. The public was not invited to the stoning, and the incident was not reported to the media. However it was spread by word of mouth to a journalist and women's rights activist. The activist gathered information and further exposed the happening to the world. In response to this, several women's rights activists, lawyers and members of the Networks of Volunteers went on to form the Stop Stoning Forever campaign to stop stoning in Iran.
  • Jafar Kiani, in Agche – kand, a small village near Takestan, Iran, 2007.
  • Sara Jaffar Nimat, aged 11, in the town of Khanaqin, Iraqi Kurdistan, 2007. She had been hit by bricks and stones, and burnt.
  • Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, aged 13 in Kismayo, Somalia, 2008.
  • Kurdistan Aziz, aged 16, Iraqi Kurdistan, 2008. She had been stoned in an act of "Honour" – killing.
  • Shano and Daulat Khan Malikdeenkhe, in Khwezai – Baezai area, Pakistan, 2008
  • Vali Azad, 30, in Gilan province, Iran, 2009.
  • Gustavo Santoro, 2010, a small town mayor in Mexico believed to have been murdered by stoning[113]
  • Murray Seidman, 2011, a 70-year-old senior in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, stoned to death by 28-year-old John Thomas after allegedly making sexual advances towards the younger man. Thomas' defence is that he did it because the Old Testament says to kill homosexuals in certain situations.[114]

People who were almost stoned[edit | edit source]

  • Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning in Nigeria in 2002 but freed on appeal.
  • Safiya Husseini was sentenced to death by stoning in Nigeria but freed on appeal.[115]
  • Shaheen Abdel Rahman and an unnamed woman in Fujeirah, United Arab Emirates in 2006

In literature[edit | edit source]

  • Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" depicts an annual lottery in which one member of a small, isolated American community is ritually stoned to death as a sacrifice. It explores themes of scapegoating, man's inherent evil and the destructive nature of observing ancient, outdated rituals. The music video for "Man That You Fear" by Marilyn Manson is based on the story.
  • Simon Perry's All Who Came Before climaxes with a stoning as Barabbas enters Jerusalem.[118]
  • Princess: A true story of life behind the veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson describes a girl sentenced to death by stoning.

In film and television[edit | edit source]

  • Seven Sleepers, 2005 – A series running on Iranian TV, in which medieval (300–400 AD) Jews stone Christians.[119]
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian presents a Jesus of Nazareth-era stoning in a humorous context, ending with a massive boulder being dropped on the Jewish official, not the victim. The film mentions that women are not allowed at stonings, yet almost all of the stone-throwers turn out to be women disguised as men.
  • Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" was made into a short (20 minute) film by Larry Yust in 1969 as part of an educational release for Encyclopædia Britannica's "Short Story Showcase".[121]
  • The film The Kite Runner depicts the stoning of an adulteress by the Taliban in a public stadium during a football match.
  • The film Mission Istanbul depicts the stoning of an adulteress in Kabul, by the fictional terrorist group Abu Nazir until it is interrupted by the protagonist Vikas Sagar.
  • Zorba The Greek, a 1946 novel by Nikos Kazantzakis and 1964 movie with Anthony Quinn, has a grim stoning scene where the woman is rescued only to be stabbed at the scene.
  • Osama (2003) by director Siddiq Barmak depicts a woman being buried in preparation for stoning.
  • In one CSI: Miami 2011 episode a female college bully is murdered by lapidation.
  • In Lady Gaga's music video for her song Judas, a scene depicts Gaga being stoned to death.
  • Although Islamic law prescribes stoning for married adulterers, the television series Sleeper Cell, about an underground radical Islamist group, depicts a scene where a member is stoned for treason.
  • In Spartacus: War of the Damned (2010–13), Season 3, Episode 2, a slave is stoned by the Roman public.
  • In Timbuktu (2014), a film about Islamist insurgents in Timbuktu, Mali, a man and woman are depicted buried up to the neck and stoned to death.

See also[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "FACTBOX: Stoning - where does it happen?". Thomson Reuters Foundation. September 29, 2013. Retrieved on 15 November 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Batha, Emma (29 September 2013). "Special report: The punishment was death by stoning. The crime? Having a mobile phone". London: Retrieved on 4 October 2013. 
  3. Ida Lichter, Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression, ISBN 978-1591027164, p. 189
  4. "Iran denies execution by stoning". BBC News. 11 January 2005. Retrieved on 23 September 2010. 
  5. Deuteronomy 13:6–10
  6. Sanhedrin Chapter 7, p. 53a [1], in Hebrew: [2]
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Capital Punishment". Retrieved on 2010-09-12. 
  8. Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 41 a)
  9. makkot 1:10 March 11, 2008
  10. Moses Maimonides, Sefer Hamitzvot, Negative Commandment no. 290.
  11. Moses Maimonides, The Commandments, Neg. Comm. 290, at 269–71 (Charles B. Chavel trans., 1967).
  12. "Ask the Orthodox Rabbi – Adultery in Judaism – Capital Punishment – Death Penalty". 2009-06-11. Retrieved on 2010-09-12. 
  13. Template:Hadith-usc, Template:Hadith-usc
  14. Template:Hadith-usc, Template:Hadith-usc, Template:Hadith-usc
  15. Quran 24:2, Quote - "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment."
  16. Quran 33:21
  17. Quran 3:32, Quran 3:132, Quran 4:59, Quran 8:20, Quran 33:66
  18. Muhammad Qasim Zaman (2012), Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1107096455, pp. 30-31
  19. Neal Robinson (2013), Islam: A Concise Introduction, Routledge, ISBN 978-0878402243, Chapter 7, pp. 85-89
  20. Hadith Muslim 17:4192. Also, see the following: Bukhari 6:60:79, Bukhari 83:37, Muslim 17:4196, Muslim 17:4206, Muslim 17:4209, Ibn Ishaq 970.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Nisrine Abiad (2008), Sharia, Muslim States and International Human Rights Treaty Obligations, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, ISBN 978-1905221417, pp. 24-25
  22. 22.0 22.1 OU Kalu (2003), Safiyya and Adamah: Punishing adultery with sharia stones in twenty‐first‐century Nigeria, African Affairs, 102(408), pp. 389-408
  25. R. Peters, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman et al., Brill, ISBN 978-9004161214, see article on Zinā
  26. 26.0 26.1 Muḥammad Salīm ʻAwwā (1982), Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, American Trust Publications, ISBN 978-0892590155
  27. Z. Mir-Hosseini (2011), Criminalizing sexuality: zina laws as violence against women in Muslim contexts, Int'l Journal on Human Rights, 15, pp. 7-16
  28. Camilla Adang (2003), Ibn Hazam on Homosexuality, Al Qantara, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 5-31
  29. KB Khan (2014), Versions and Subversions of Islamic Cultures in the Film The Stoning of Soraya, Journal of Literary Studies, 30(3), pp. 149-167
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  33. Z Maghen (2005), Virtues Of The Flesh: Passion and Purity In Early Islamic Jurisprudence, Studies in Islamic Law and Society, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004140707, pp 155
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  36. Muhsan The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2012)
  37. Ismail Poonwala (2004), The Pillars of Islam: Laws pertaining to human intercourse, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, pp. 448-457
  38. Handley, Paul (11 Sep 2010). "Islamic countries under pressure over stoning". Times of Malta. Retrieved on 22 April 2011. 
  39. Sommerville, Quentin (26 Jan 2011). "Afghan police pledge justice for Taliban stoning". BBC. Retrieved on 22 April 2011. 
  40. Nebehay, Stephanie (10 Jul 2009). "Pillay accuses Somali rebels of possible war crimes". Times of India. Retrieved on 22 April 2011. 
  41. "Afghanistan – Stoning of Women". Womens UN Report Network. 8 March 2013. Retrieved on 27 November 2015. "Almost every stoning incident has taken place outside the formal legal system of Afghanistan. Tribal leaders create local courts called jirgas and decide on accusations of adultery and stone a woman to death. The man with whom the woman is accused of adultery usually goes unpunished from such a tribal court because he is often given refuge by armed groups or is given the opportunity to flee from the village." 
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Afghan woman accused of adultery stoned to death in video posted online". The Independent. 4 November 2015. Retrieved on 27 November 2015. "According to Tolo News Agency, Police Chief General Mustafa said: “The Taliban ordered stoning of the girl after she was caught eloping with a man on the mountains. Police has started investigations and will arrest the perpetrators soon.” But Wazhma Frogh, co-founder of the Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security, said the attackers could have been tribal leaders as local officials were known to blame Taliban insurgents “to cover up their own kind”. She told The Guardian: “Of course the Taliban do these things, but we can’t deny that tribal leaders also do the same things.”" 
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 "Afghan woman stoned to death for alleged adultery". The Guardian. 3 November 2015. 
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Stoning Rukhshana was against Shariah: Ghor Ulema". Pajhwok Afghan News. November 8, 2015. Retrieved on 8 November 2015. 
  45. "Young lovers killed by stoning in Afghanistan". Los Angeles Times. 22 August 2010. Retrieved on 27 November 2015. 
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  48. "Taliban Stone Couple for Adultery in Afghanistan". Fox News. Associated Press. August 16, 2010. Retrieved on 16 August 2010. 
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  50. "Sultan of Brunei puts flogging, stoning on the statute book". The Australian. 23 October 2013. 
  51. Katie Hamann Aceh's Sharia Law Still Controversial in Indonesia Voice of America 29 December 2009, and: In Enforcing Shariah Law, Religious Police in Aceh on Hemline Frontline Jakarta Globe, December 28, 2009
  52. Aceh Stoning Law Hits a New Wall The Jakarta Globe, 12th October 2009
  53. Aceh Government Removes Stoning Sentence From Draft Bylaw, Jakarta Globe 12 March 2013
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  55. "Iran to scrap death by stoning". AFP. August 6, 2008. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  56. Iran executes two men by stoning BBC News (January 13, 2009)
  57. «سنگسار» در شرع حذف شدنی نیست Persian document; Translation - "Muhammad Ali Asfnany spokesman for the Judicial Committee of the Parliament said Rajm is not being listed in the legislation, but the punishment per the law will be practically the same as the rest of the rules are valid in Islamic law. Asfnany said Western media makes noise against the implementation of Islamic law in Iran, a sentiment that is rooted in Western enmity with us, when their excuse is to change our rules."
  58. 58.0 58.1 Mohammad Hossein Nayyeri, The Question of "Stoning to Death" in the New Penal Code of the IRI Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (2014)
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 Amnesty International (2008), Iran - End executions by Stoning
  60. Richard Johnson (20 November 2010). "Anatomy of a stoning – How the law is applied in Iran - National Post". National Post. 
  61. English Translation of Regulatory Code on Sentences of Qisas, Stoning, Crucifixion, Execution, and Flogging Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (2013)
  62. 62.0 62.1 Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (April 2014), English Translation of Books I & II of the New Islamic Penal Code IHRDC, New Haven, CT
  63. National Laws - Iran (2014)
  64. "Iraq: Amnesty International appalled by stoning to death of Yazidi girl and subsequent killings". Amnesty International. 27 April 2007. 
  65. Ahmed Rasheed and Mohammed Ameer (10 March 2012). "Iraq militia stone youths to death for "emo" style". Retrieved on 24 September 2014. 
  66. Islamic State militants stone man to death in Iraq: witness Reuters (August 22, 2014)
  67. Jacinto, Leela (18 Mar 2011). "Nigerian Woman Fights Stoning Death". ABC News International. Retrieved on 8 June 2011. 
  68. "Gay Nigerians face Sharia death". BBC News. 10 Aug 2007. Retrieved on 8 June 2011. 
  69. Coleman, Sarah (Dec 2003). "Nigeria: Stoning Suspended". World Press. Retrieved on 8 June 2011. 
  70. "Twenty-Five Years of Hudood Ordinances- A Review" (1 September 2007). Washington and Lee Law Review 64 (4): 1292, 1296. Retrieved on 18 November 2014. 
  71. "Slow March to the Gallows: Death Penalty in Pakistan". Intl. Fed. for Human Rights. 2007. pp. 16, 58. 
  72. "Overview of the Protection of Women Act, 2006 (Pakistan)". Islamabad: Aurat Publication and Information Service Foundation. 2008. Retrieved on 18 November 2015. 
  73. "Pak soldier publicly stoned to death for love affair". Reuters. 2013-03-13. 
  74. "Woman Stoned to Death on Panchayat's Orders". Pakistan Today (Lahore). 10 July 2013. Retrieved on 8 October 2013. 
  75. "Pakistani couple stoned to death for adultery; six arrested". Reuters. 17 February 2014. 
  76. "Pregnant Pakistani woman stoned to death by her family". London: 28 May 2014. Retrieved on 27 May 2014. 
  77. "Pakistani man protesting 'honour killing' admits strangling first wife". London: 29 May 2014. Retrieved on 27 May 2014. 
  78. "Abolish Stoning and Barbaric Punishment Worldwide!". International Society for Human Rights. Retrieved on 2010-09-23. 
  79. Batha, Emma; Li, Ye (29 September 2013). "Stoning - where is it legal?". Thomson Reuters Foundation. Retrieved on January 26, 2014. 
  80. 80.0 80.1 "Sudan –End stoning, reform the criminal law". Sudan Tribune. 30 July 2012. Retrieved on 18 August 2012. 
  81. "Sudan: Amnesty International e Italians for Darfur mobilitati contro lapidazione di Layla" (in Italian). LiberoReporter. Retrieved on 18 August 2012. 
  82. "Somali woman executed by stoning". BBC News. 2008-10-27. Retrieved on 31 October 2008. 
  83. "Stoning victim 'begged for mercy'". BBC News. 2008-11-04. Retrieved on 24 May 2010. 
  84. "Somalia: Girl stoned was a child of 13". Amnesty International. 2008-10-31. Retrieved on 2008-10-31. 
  85. "Pictured: Islamic militants stone man to death for adultery in Somalia as villagers are forced to watch". London: Daily Mail. 2009-12-14. Retrieved on 14 December 2009. 
  86. "Somali militants stone woman to death". Reuters. 
  87. "UAE: Death by stoning/ flogging". Amnesty. 
  88. "Two women sentenced to death for adultery". 
  89. "Man faces stoning in UAE for incest". 
  90. "Woman denies affair after hearing she faces stoning". 
  91. "Woman Sentenced to Death by Stoning in UAE". 
  92. "Asian housemaid gets death for adultery in Abu Dhabi". 
  93. "Expat faces death by stoning after admitting in court to cheating on husband". 
  94. "Man, woman stoned to death for adultery in Syria: monitor". Reuters. 
  95. "Islamic State militants stone man to death in Iraq: witness". Reuters. 
  96. 96.0 96.1 "BBC News - Islamic State video 'shows man stone his daughter to death'". BBC News. 
  97. "Hadd of Stoning" (2013). Dabiq. 
  98. Memri TV: "#4558 Woman Stoned to Death by ISIS in Syria" October 21, 2014
  99. "Muslim Beliefs About Sharia - Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 30 April 2013. 
  100. "Amina Lawal". Amnesty International. 2003. 
  101. "Nigeria: Debunking Misconceptions on Stoning Case". Human Rights Watch. 2003. 
  102. Rochelle Terman (November 2007). "The Stop Stoning Forever Campaign: A Report" (pdf). Retrieved on 2010-09-23. 
  103. 103.0 103.1 "Amnesty International - Afghanistan: Reject stoning, flogging, amputation and other Taliban-era punishments". 26 November 2013. 
  104. "Sudan: Ban Death by Stoning - Human Rights Watch". 
  105. "Iran Human Rights Documentation Center - Gender Inequality and Discrimination: The Case of Iranian Women". 
  106. Template:Webarchive
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  108. "Activists push for global ban on stoning". 
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  110. "Gay Nigerians face Sharia death". BBC News. 10 August 2007. 
  111. Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans Studying the historical Jesus 1998 Page 447 "There are three among these that merit some attention: (1) "And it is tradition: On the eve of Passover ... And the herald went forth before him for forty days, 'Yeshu ha-Nosri is to be stoned, because he has practiced magic and enticed and led Israel astray. Any one who knows anything in his favor, let him come and speak concerning him."
  112. Marisela Ortega (29 September 2010). "Man, sons convicted of stoning El Paso woman to death in Juárez". El Paso Times. Retrieved on 2010-10-13. 
  113. Cyntia Barrera (27 September 2007). "Small-town mayor stoned to death in western Mexico". Reuters AlertNet. Retrieved on 2010-10-13. 
  114. Mari A. Schaefer (18 March 2011). "Police: Killer invoked Old Testament in 'stoning' death". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved on 2015-11-03. 
  115. "Sharia court frees Nigerian woman", 25 March 2002, BBC News
  116. "Top 10 Amazing Execution Survival Stories". Listverse. 
  117. "The Iranian: News & Views". 
  118. Perry, Simon (2011). All Who Came Before. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock. pp. 143–145. ISBN 978-1-60899-659-9. 
  119. "Iran TV: 'Evil' Jews stoning Christians". January 5, 2005. 
  120. "A Stoning in Fulham County". 1988. 
  121. "The Lottery". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2010-09-23. 

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates: Fujairah Shariah court orders man to be stoned to death for adultery – 11 June 2006)


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