How Does One Get "Stoned" in Iran?
Thanks to both The Religion of Peace
and What Would Charles Martel Do
for the photograph, and to Charles for this text:
"Death by stoning in Iran has. . . become a brutal abuse of power and a barbaric example of outright defiance of the International Declaration of Human Rights as well as most modern standards. Treatment of women in many islamic countries fall under this category of course, but that is another issue.
The method of execution by stoning (usually for the crime of adultery) used in Iran involves burying a woman to her shoulders and then stoning her to death with rocks of a specified size. The intent behind the specification of rock size is to have the executioners not use stones that would not do enough damage nor to use larger ones which might kill or render the victim unconscious immediately, the implication of course being to inflict as much suffering as possible.
The face of the woman in a picture smuggled out of Iran in 1992 haunts me, and though I have searched, I have been unable to find her story. The story of a woman killed in the same Iranian town if Arak in 1994 has been reported on, and is one of the most horrific things I have possibly ever heard of. This woman (name unknown to me) was buried in preparation and her last request to have her husband and children sent away so as not to see her execution was denied.
During the stoning, this woman managed to dig her way free, despite the fact that her eyes were gouged out, and began to run away. According to some reports, this method of escape ends the execution. This woman, however, was chased down and shot by a firing squad."
Thank you again, TROP and What.
I, too, had seen a description of actual eyewitness account of a stoning, but it was quite a long time ago. I believe I have found it again, however, and will include it here. The process is every bit as horrendous as you might imagine.
The victim of this barbaric torture was named Soraya, and the whole story of Soraya M's death is in a book ("The Stoning of Soraya M., by Freidoune Sahebjam, available at Amazon.com and other bookstores). The article I found with this material in it is at : http://hammihan.20fr.com
The author states:
"Over the past fifteen years, more than 1000 women have been stoned to death in Iran. Here is the true and shocking story of one such woman." The book is based on an eyewitness account and it documents, day by day and hour by hour, a terrible miscarriage of justice.
I will reproduce selected elements from the front and back flaps of the jacket and from the text of the book itself here as accompaniment to the picture above.
From the jacket:
"The woman who had been sentenced to death stood facing the silent crowd. Her head was held high, and her eyes were fixed on old Zayhra, who was staring back at her. . .[the crowd grew] more and more restive as they looked at the defenseless woman being lowered into the pit. Stone in hand, they awaited Machdi Ebrahim's orders.
Soraya M.'s husband, Ghorban-Ali, was a shiftless, ambitious man, prone to rages and dreams of wealth. . .[who] wanted to get out of his marriage. . .
"The gravediggers returned with their shovels and spades and began to fill up the hole. With each shovelful of dirt, they intoned "In the name of Allah!"
And from the text of the book itself:
"Sheik Hassan. . .raised high the Koran and said: 'May the will of the Almighty be done, and may Islamic law be carried out.'
"It was then that everything began.
"With a sweeping gesture of both his arms, Machdi Ebrahim motioned for the crowd to move back several steps. He took a piece of cord from his pocket and counted out fifteen cubits. He carefully cut the cord and handed it to Shokrollah. 'This measures somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-two to twenty-five feet,' he said. 'Using the hole as your center, go draw me a circle. Mark it with quicklime.'
"Using Soraya's head as the center, Shokrollah drew a circle on the ground.
"The mayor took a stone and handed it to Soraya's father: 'It is to you,' he said, 'that befalls the honor throwing the first stone. . .'
"The old man. . .took the large stone in his hand. . .and as he threw the stone with all his might. . .he shouted: 'Allah be praised! . . . There, whore, take that!'
"He missed the mark. . . Four times he tried to strike his daughter, in vain. In a state of rage, he said: 'Give me another stone. I'm going to crush her skull. . .I'm going to split open the woman's head!
"Then it was Ghorban-Ali's turn. . .
" 'Your turn, my boy,' the mayor said to him affectionately, 'and may God guide your arm.'
"The presumably cuckolded husband drew back his arm and then launched his stone, which streaked toward the woman's head missing by a scant six inches.
". . .a second stone. . .just grazed the woman's head. . . a third stone was thrown, this one striking the victim's right shoulder. A barely audible sound came from her mouth, and her chest gave a slight shudder.
"The crowd was screaming hysterically now, and there were ripples of applause from the men. The shadow of a smile flitted across Ghorban-Ali's face; he picked up another stone, aimed more carefully, and threw it as hard as he could. This time the stone struck the woman on the forehead, just at the hairline. The skin burst open, blood began to trickle down her face, as Soraya's head jerked violently backward.
"That's it, you got her! Good for you, Ghorban-Ali. He got her, did you see? Throw another stone, go ahead, give the slut what she deserves!
"The victim's two sons were next. They both picked up stones and threw them at the same time. One of them struck her on the head. There was a sound, like a loud hiccup, as her head jerked back.
"Now the stones were flying thick and fast. . .only a few feet in front of [the crowd] was a head [that] kept bobbing to and fro in time to the stones that were striking it. . . despite the mayor's dire warning, the villagers had been creeping closer and closer to their target, and as a result, there were many more direct hits than when the spectacle began.
"Finally it was Sheik Hassan's turn. He put his Koran in his left hand and, with his right, picked up a large stone. . .he turned back to the crowd and said. . .'I am not the one who is throwing this stone. . .It is God who is guiding my arm. . . It is he who commands me and the revenge I am meting out is not for me, but for our imam, revenge for the heinous crive this woman has committed. . .I shall throw as many stones as it takes to kill this bitch. And afterward the rest of you can throw your stones as well.
"In the center of the circle, Soraya was slowly expiring. Her head and chest were little more than a shapeless mass of bloody flesh. The noisy crowd, completely out of control, broke ranks and moved in even closer, ready for the kill. Her scalp was nothing more than a gaping wound; her jaw had exploded; her eyes and nose burst open. Her head drooped at a grotesque angle. . .over what remained of her right shoulder."
"Hassan, his robe spattered with blood, raised his arm. . .'My dear friends. . .listen to me for a moment. . .I believe that God has done his work. . . Would someone like to check and make certain the harlot is dead?
"Several men raised their hands. Hassan picked Said the well digger. The man lay down on the ground right next to the victim and put his year close to Soraya's open mouth. 'She's still alive. . .The bitch still hasn't died.'
"A man slowly stepped forward, holding a stone above his head with both hands, and brought it down directly on top of her skull. Another followed, and picked up a brick that was lying there next to the victim, and hit her furious with it half a dozen times. The skull burst open, and the brains spilled out onto the ground.
"Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!
"A sudden silence came over the assembly. Then. . .the crowd intoned, together with the mullah: 'In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful."
(Condemned to death by the Khomeini regime for his writings, Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam returned undercover to his native land in 1987 in order to research this book. He lives in France.)