Action to prevent second stoning of Zoleykhah Kadkhoda
Violence Against Women Case
Geneva, 28 October 1997
The International Secretariat of the OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Iran.
Brief description of the situation :
The International Secretariat has been informed, by reliable sources, of concerns over the physical and psychological integrity of Zoleykhah Kadkhoda from Kanirash village in Bukan.
According to the information received, on 11 August 1997, Zoleykhah Kadkhoda was arrested, charged with engaging in sexual relations outside marriage, and immediately condemned to death by decree of the religious magistrate Hakem Sha'r, Furthermore, the Friday Prayer Leader of Ali Abad village, a man named Khalifzadeh was also involved in condemning Kadkhoda to death.
On the same day the local Pasdaran,Basijis and other Hezbollahis ("civilian" supporters of the Islamic regime) buried her from waist down in a ditch and began stoning her. One such supporter has been identified as Sharifaghleh. The stoning prompted such reaction among the village inhabitants, that they were forced to stop the stoning and immediately take her body to the Bukan hospital. Zoleykhah Kadkhoda head and face were seriously wounded.
As the news of the stoning spread, it incited such disapproval among the people of the city and villages of Bukan that local representatives and the religious magistrate were forced to promise to give Zoleykhah Kadkhoda amnesty if she survives. However, according to the latest reports, there is concern that despite the reports of her amnesty, Zoleykhah Kadkhoda might be sentenced to a second stoning.
OMCT notes that Iran is State party to Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 7 states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
The Special Rapporteur on the question of Torture has emphasised in his last report to Commission on Human Rights that torture and cruel inhuman degrading treatment or punishment extends to corporal punishment such as stoning to death, flogging and amputation. He furthermore notes in the same report that The State must be considered responsible for the consequences of sentences of corporal punishment by informal or quasi-official agencies, such ad hoc village tribunals or religious courts, who are pronouncing which appear to be extrinsic to the State's constitutional criminal justice system , if they are carried out with its authorisation, consent or acquiescence (E/CN.4/1997/7, Para 5).
According to several reports, a number of ad hoc courts emerged in Iran shortly after the Islamic revolution to mete out immediate punishment to the offenders of Islamic mores. A 1986 law made it possible to appoint judges with little formal education, whose experience lay in the structures of the post-revolutionary government, and who are more politically radical and religious activists. Furthermore, religious judges holding the status of of Mojtahed (religious scholar ) who occupy the vast majority of judicial positions in penal courts cling to their authority to issue judgements on the basis of their own religious opinions or Fatwa. In addition, the Friday Prayer Leaders or Imam Jom-e have enormous power, in provincial cities often more than the government appointed judicial officials. A law adopted in 1992 gives to these irregular quasi governmental forces full power to arrest and detain suspects. The completely unregulated status of the Basijis provides no redress against arbitrary detention.
Write to the Iranian authorities urging them to:
i. guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Zoleykhah Kadkhoda and provide access to sufficient medical care and guarantee that Zoleykhah Kadkhoda is granted total amnesty ;
ii. take all necessary measures to bring an end to the practice of corporal punishment sentenced by religious magistrates or any other quasi-official or official agencies;
iii. guarantee an impartial and exhaustive enquiry into these facts, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
iv. ensure in all circumstances the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with national and international standards.
Leader of the Islamic Republic His Excellency Mohammad Khatami Khamanei, The Presidency. Palestine Ave. Azerbaijan Intersection. Tehran, Islamic republic of Iran. Phone: Iran 01198216161. Telegram: Ayatollah Khamenei, Tehran Iran Telex: 214231 MITI IR; 213113 PRIM IR.
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali, The Presidency Palestine Ave. Azerbaijan Intersection. Tehran, Islamic republic of Iran. Phone: Iran 01198216161. Telegram: President Rafsanjani, Tehran Iran Telex: 214231 MITI IR; 213113 PRIM IR.
His Excellency Abdollah Nouri, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Fatemi Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
His Excellency Kamal Kharazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: 98-21 674 790
Geneva, 28 October 1997
Kindly inform us of any action taken quoting the code of the present appeal in your reply.
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l'Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture (The World Organisation Against Torture, OMCT) is the world's largest network of human rights organisations fighting against all forms of torture, cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, forced disappearances summary execution or other more subtle forms of violent repression. OMCT has consultative status with the UN, The ILO and the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.