Stoning or Flogging of Women

last updated June 2010

What Are Stoning and Flogging?
Stoning is a form of capital punishment, performed by state or non-state actors, in which the condemned is buried up to the neck and has rocks thrown at him or her by the executioners, leading to a slow and painful death. It most often occurs in Muslim contexts and is commonly applied in cases of adultery, though there is no reference to stoning in the Qur’an. A similar but non-lethal punishment of flogging (encompassing whipping, caning, and lashing) is practiced in a number of Muslim cultures in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan.
 
Prevalence of Stoning
In spite of Iran’s national moratorium on the practice of stoning in 2002, there has actually been an upsurge in stoning sentences since the 2005 election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The practice is sanctioned in the Islamic Penal Code of Iran and is to be applied to both men and women in cases of adultery. However, provisions in Iran’s Family Code allow married men to have sex outside marriage, which has led to the practice being disproportionately applied to women, and puts the sentence at the discretion of male judges who frequently disregard the requirement under the criminal code for evidence of four eyewitnesses or four separate confessions to be given before the sentence can be lawfully imposed.

Prevalence of Flogging
A similar but non-lethal punishment of flogging (encompassing whipping, caning, and lashing) is practiced in a number of Muslim cultures in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan. The most common offence punished by flogging is adultery, but the practice is often used to punish victims of rape who cannot prove the non-consensual nature of the crime because four eyewitnesses or confession are required to establish that sexual contact was not voluntary. In addition, flogging is used in places such as Sudan and Indonesia to punish offenses such as dress code violations or being found in the company of a stranger. These punishments are often carried out summarily by ‘morality police,’ whether or not the women in the affected culture are even aware of the ordinance in question.
 
 
 
 
 
Sources:
 
Grieff, S. (2010). No justice in justifications: Violence against women in the name of culture, religion, and tradition.