6 Aug 2008

Iran stays stoning sentences

5:15 pm on 6 August 2008

The Iranian judiciary says it will spare the lives of four people sentenced to death by stoning.

It is also halting the implementation of other such sentences pending a review of their cases.

Defence lawyers last month said at least eight women and one man had received such sentences and might be executed at any time.

They were convicted of offences including prostitution, incest and adultery.

The last officially reported stoning in Iran was carried out on a man a year ago, drawing criticism from human rights groups, the European Union and a top United Nations official.

According to Iran's Islamic penal code, stones used should not be so large as to kill the person immediately.