TEHRAN: Two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the supreme court upheld the death sentences against them, their lawyer said yesterday.
The two were found guilty of adultery – a capital crime in Islamic Iran – after the husband of one sister presented video evidence showing them in the company of other men while he was away.
“Branch 23 of the supreme court has confirmed the stoning sentence,” said their lawyer, Jabbar Solati.
The penal court of Tehran province had already sentenced the sisters, identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar, to stoning, reports said.
Solati explained that the two sisters had initially been tried for “illegal relations” and received 99 lashes. However, in a second trial they were convicted of “adultery”.
The pair admitted they were in the video presented by the husband but argued that there was no adultery as none of the footage showed them engaged in a sexual act with other men.
“There is no legal evidence whereby the judge could have the knowledge for issuing a stoning sentence,” Solati said, adding that he had appealed to the state prosecutor.
“The two sisters have been tried twice for one crime,” Solati protested.
Under Iran’s Islamic law adultery is theoretically punishable by stoning, although in late 2002 judiciary head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi issued a writ suspending such executions.
However, in July 2007 Jafar Kiani was stoned to death for adultery in a village in Qazvin province in an execution that sparked international outrage.
Zohreh’s husband – who accused his wife and her sister in January 2007 of having extra-marital affairs – had planted a camera in his house in a bid to catch them in the act.
“She did not treat me well and her actions made me feel she did not want to live with me any more,” said the husband, who was not named.
“To make sure I planted a camera in the house… I found out that she and her sister brought over men after I left and had relationships with them,” he said.
Zohreh said she had an edgy relationship with her husband because of the strict limits he imposed on her life.
“I was a teacher and loved my job but my husband did not let me work … he was always suspicious of me and thought our differences were because I had an affair,” she said.
“I do not approve the confessions that I made in the investigation phase and I deny what I said,” she said.
Etemad reported that the husband of the other sister, Azar, had not filed any complaint against her.
Feb. 5, 2008