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UN rights chief condemns stoning execution of Iranian convicted of adultery

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official website] Tuesday condemned the recent execution by stoning of an Iranian man convicted of adultery, saying the execution was in violation of international law [press release]. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text], Iran should only impose the death penalty for serious violent crimes, Arbour said. The man and his companion had allegedly been in prison for more than 11 years and were scheduled to be killed by stoning on June 21. Although the execution was stayed for a government moratorium on stoning executions enacted in 2002, the man was stoned to death last Thursday. Arbour called on Iran [JURIST news archive] to investigate why the execution was carried out in light of the government suspension; she also asked Iran to stop the scheduled execution of the man's companion and all other pending death sentences by stoning. Although reform members in the Iranian parliament [official website] have sought to eliminate stoning as punishment for convicted adultery, conservative clerics have prevented the change.

Last month, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on Iran to halt executions of juvenile offenders [JURIST report], again pointing to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text]. Both international agreements prohibit Iran from imposing the death penalty on children younger than 18. The UN News Center has more. AP has additional coverage.

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