Man Receives Death Penalty for Adultery; Khamenei Threatens Execution of European Citizens

July 26, 2023, 8:46 p.m.

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); July 26, 2023: The scope of offences leading to the death penalty has widened significantly this year. In the latest case, state media have reported the death sentence against an unidentified man for consensual sex.

Extramarital relations are criminalised under the Islamic Republic’s laws which proscribe the death penalty for the married party. On the other hand, Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei called for the execution of those who burnt the Quran in Sweden last week.

Iran Human Rights once again calls for the urgent attention of the international community to the growing number of death sentences and executions in Iran. Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “In order to create fear to prevent popular protests, Islamic Republic authorities have expanded the scope of charges for which they’re issuing and carrying out death penalty sentences as well as the already significant rise in the number of executions.”

“In the 21st Century, the international community shouldn’t be tolerating the execution of anyone for consensual sex or expression of opinion at the hands of a government that has a seat at the United Nations. Unfortunately, the international community’s lack of appropriate reaction to the execution of another person for adultery and two people for blasphemy in recent months, has emboldened the Islamic Republic to issue similar sentences and threaten European citizens to death,” he added.

According to Etemad Online, Branch 11 of the Tehran Criminal Court has sentenced a man to death and a woman to flogging and community service for adultery charges.

Only named as Saman and Jaleh, the pair who were both married were arrested and tried for having consensual extramarital relations.

According to the report, the woman, Jaleh did not accept the adultery charge and said: “she did not have sexual relations with her husband because they did not get on. She accepted that she talked to Saman on the phone.” Saman had accepted the charges.

According to Article 225 of the Islamic Penal Code, “The hadd punishment for zena of a man and a woman who meet the conditions of ehsan shall be stoning to death. Where the stoning is not possible, upon proposal of the court of final judgment and approval of the Head of Judiciary, if the offence is proved by testimony of witnesses, the man and woman who have committed zena and meet the conditions of ehsan shall be sentenced to the death penalty [hanging]; otherwise, each one of them shall be given one hundred lashes.”

Stoning was last carried out in 2010 after international pressure raised the political cost of its use, and has been replaced with hanging since.

On 24 April, a 37-year-old man named Ahmad Nikouyi was executed in Karaj Penitentiary for adultery charges.

On 8 May, two men named Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were executed for offences against religion including “blasphemy” and “insulting the prophet” through a Telegram channel in Arak Central Prison.

On 22 July, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader tweeted his reaction to the Quran burning in Sweden, calling for the most severe punishment (death) for the perpetrators. He called on the Swedish government to hand over those responsible to Islamic countries.

At least 407 people have been executed so far in 2023.