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Iranian newspaper calls execution by stoning un-Islamic

TEHRAN, Nov 30 (AFP) - Execution by stoning is a practice at odds with the tenets of Islam and should be suspended immediately, a moderate Iranian newspaper charged on Monday.

"This practice does not conform to the tradition of the Prophet (Mohammad) and is not mentioned in the holy Koran," said the moderate women's newspaper Zan, run by Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

"This practice is no longer in keeping with our times and must be replaced by something else," it declared, asking: "Is stoning really necessary, especially at a time when the world is scrutinising us to find the slightest excuse for criticising us?"

Stoning as punishment for adultery has been carried out in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and is also the law in other Islamic nations. Iranian authorities say the punishment is decreed in the Koran and conforms to sharia or Islamic law.

According to sharia, men convicted of adultery are buried to their waist and women buried to their armpits, before they are showered with stones thrown by a crowd.

The stones must not be large enough to kill the person immediately nor too small to be "effective." The condemned are acquitted if they are able to break free while the sentence is being carried out.

A man in northern Iran was acquitted in November after managing to unearth himself while being stoned for adultery.

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