Nine Adulterers to Be Stoned (Iran)

Eight women and one man convicted of adultery are set to be stoned to death in Iran, according to activists and lawyers.

Shadi Sadr, a lawyer and women’s rights activist, said the nine were convicted of adultery in separate cases in different Iranian cities.

“Their verdicts are approved, and they may be executed at any time,” she said, adding that trial protocol was not applied properly in the cases.

Six of the nine were convicted based solely on judges’ decisions with no witnesses or the presence of their lawyers during their confessions, she said.

Most of the nine come from areas of Iran that have low rates of literacy and some did not understand the cases against them, she said. One had pleaded guilty to adultery even though she did not know the meaning of the charge.

The nine are between 27 and 50 years old, among them a male music teacher who was convicted of adultery for having an affair with one of his students, the activists said.

“We are trying to stop the implementation of their verdicts. And secondly, we want to amend the country’s penal law, in which death by stoning is prescribed,” she said.

Under Iran’s Islamic laws, adultery in the only capital offence punishable by stoning. Other capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, drug trafficking, prostitution, treason and espionage.

The punishment is also applied in some other countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Nigeria.

A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck. Those carrying out the verdict then throw stones until the condemned dies.

Stoning was widely imposed in the early years after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. But in recent years, it has seldom been applied, though the government rarely confirms when it carries out stoning sentences. The last stoning death confirmed by the government was in July last year.

Advertisements

15 child brides used to settle Pakistan feud

It started with a dead dog, escalated into a tit-for-tat tribal war, and has now reached a grotesque climax with the exchange of 15 child brides.

Pakistani human rights activists are outraged at reports that a long-running blood feud in a remote corner of western Baluchistan province has been resolved by the handing over of 15 girls, aged between three and 10, for marriage.

“There has to be action,” said Asma Jahangir, a leading rights campaigner. “These people who force others to sell their daughters must be sent to prison.”

The new government in Islamabad, led by the party of the late Benazir Bhutto, has promised to act. “We will not allow young girls to be traded like this,” said the information minister, Sherry Rehman. “The culprits who tried to do this will be arrested. The orders have been given.”

But Jahangir said those orders had not been acted upon. “There is a dysfunction in the whole system. They are not listening to the government,” she said. “We need to see them being more effective than just rhetoric.”

Vanni, an ancient tribal practice in which feuding clans settle their differences by exchanging women for marriage, is illegal in Pakistan. In 2004 the Sindh high court outlawed all such “parallel justice” systems. But the writ of government is weak in rural areas, and local police often turn a blind eye.

The current controversy started with a row over a dog, said Muhammad Paryal Marri, a researcher in northern Sindh for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

A dog owned by one tribe, the Chakranis, was shot dead because it strayed too close to a well controlled by their rivals, the Qalandaris. In revenge the Chakranis shot a donkey belonging to the other side. A ferocious bout of tit-for-tat killings ensued in which 19 people, including five women, were killed.

The fighting ended in 2002 when Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti – a rebellious tribal chieftain who was later killed by the Pakistan army – brought the two sides together. Bugti ordered the Chakranis to hand over 15 child brides in compensation; at a jirga, or tribal council. Last Friday they finally agreed to make good on that promise, said Marri.

“They agreed to pay some money and exchange the ladies,” he said.

Such brutal traditions have only come to light for a broader public in the past decade, thanks to activism by human rights groups and publicity from local media.

“Barbarity in the name of tradition,” declared the English-langauge newspaper Dawn earlier this week in a scathing editorial against the “medieval mindset that dominates many sections of our society”.

But, despite previous shows of similar anger, official action has lagged far behind. “The government is unwilling to use its authority to protect women. It will find any excuse,” said Jahangir.

Muhammad: Setting the ultimate pedophile example to be followed today.

An Abhorrent practice.

Man Jailed Over Feminism Petition (Iran)

TEHRAN (AFP) – A male defender of the feminist cause in Iran has been sentenced to a year in prison, the moderate Kargozaran newspaper reported on Monday.

Amir Yaqoubali is a supporter of the “One Million Signatures” petition campaign launched in June 2006. According to a feminist website, he was arrested as he collected signatures.

The campaign seeks to change the Islamic republic’s laws on marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody by collecting signatures both online and in person.

In recent months four feminists — Rezvan Moghadam, Nahid Jafari, Nasrin Afzali and Marzieh Mortazi Langueroudi — were handed down suspended sentences of six months in prison and 10 lashes by Tehran Revolutionary Court for disorderly conduct in public.

In March last year, they took part in a rally outside the same court to protest against the arrest of five feminists in June 2006.

Several other activists, arrested for their pro-feminism stance, are still in jail.

Nojoud, 8, gets divorce granted after forced marriage

A Yemeni court on Tuesday granted a divorce to an eight-year-old girl whose unemployed father forced her into an arranged marriage this year, saying he feared she might be kidnapped.”I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school,” Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa’s court of first instance.

Her former husband, 28-year-old Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child “with her consent and that of her parents” but that he did not object to her divorce petition.

In response to a question from Judge Mohammed al-Qadhi, he acknowledged that the “marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her.”

Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, has no law governing the minimum age of marriage.

Nojud was a second grader in primary school when the marriage took place two and a half months ago.

“They asked me to sign the marriage contract and remain in my father’s house until I was 18. But a week after signing, my father and my mother forced me to go live with him.”

Nojud’s father, Mohammad Ali Al-Ahdal, said he had felt obliged to marry off his daughter, an act he claims she consented to.

He said he was frightened after his oldest daughter had been kidnapped several years ago and later married to her abductor. He said the same man then kidnapped another of his daughters who was already married and had four children, resulting in him being jailed.

Dressed in traditional black, Nojud said she would now go to live in the home of her maternal uncle and did not want to see her father.

The girl’s lawyer, Shadha Nasser, said Nojud’s case was not unique. “I believe there are thousands of similar cases,” she said, adding that civil society groups are pressing parliament to set the minimum age for marriage at 18.

Although this will not right the abuse against her it has put a stop to it. I hope others in her position can learn from her example to stand up for their own rights.