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Eight Iranian women face death by stoning


Eight Iranian women face stoning to death in Iran
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Eight women in Iran face death by stoning for adultery, Amnesty International has warned.

The human rights group says the Iranian legal system unfairly discriminates against women and is demanding an immediate moratorium on the penalty.

Under Iranian law women are buried up to their breasts before stones are dropped on them. Its penal code states the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones".

Women are more likely to be stoned to death because of their unequal treatment before the law and courts, in what Amnesty says is a clear violation of international standards.

A woman's testimony is worth half that of a man and the age of criminal responsibility is lower, making Iranian women especially vulnerable to conviction for adultery.

"Stoning people to death is an inhumane punishment, specifically designed to increase the suffering of the victim. The Iranian authorities should abolish stoning immediately, and should abandon the practice of executing people for committing adultery," Amnesty International UK's director Kate Allen said.

"Women are not treated equally in Iran, in the home and in the courts, and this means that they are particularly at risk.

"Women and men inside Iran are fighting for an end to this horrendous practice and in some cases they have met with success. But we must show them international support."

Amnesty is leading a campaign against the death penalty based around its violation of two fundamental human rights the right to life, and the right not to be tortured or subject to any cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.