Five ‘Crimes’ That Can Get You Killed

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In some countries having consensual sexual relations outside marriage, offending religion and even drinking alcohol is punishable by death © Michael Matuzak

Even though most of the world has turned its back on the death penalty, some countries continue to impose capital punishment for acts like having consensual sexual relations outside marriage, opposing the government, offending religion and even drinking alcohol.

This is despite international law barring states from handing out death sentences for any of these crimes.

Here’s a list of some “crimes” that, in some parts of the world, can get you killed.

Iran's Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery (Photo Credit: Etienne Laurent/AFP/Getty Images).

Iran’s Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery (Photo Credit: Etienne Laurent/AFP/Getty Images).

1.        Consensual Sexual Relations Outside Marriage
In Sudan, two women, Intisar Sharif Abdallah and Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul, were sentenced to death by stoning on charges of “adultery while married” in separate cases in May and July 2012. In both cases, the women were sentenced after unfair trials involving forced “confessions.” The sentences were subsequently overturned on appeal, and both women were released.

In Iran at least 10 individuals, mainly women, remain on death row having been sentenced to stoning for the crime of “adultery while married.”


Mother to be stoned to death in Iran

UPDATE:  Iran halted death by stoning for Ashtiani.  However she could still face the death penalty.  Please take action to stop the execution.

On June 30, Amnesty  reported that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment.

Her crime?  Adultery.

While extreme cases of adultery in the US turn into tabloid fodder, Iran’s penal code prescribes execution by stoning as the penalty for adultery by married persons.

Ashtiani was convicted after confessing in 2006.  Human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, however, said Thursday that her confession was coerced; Ashtiani only confessed after suffering 99 lashes.  And though Ashtiani has since retracted her confession, Iran’s supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.

Amnesty International reported in 2008 that the majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women.

Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty, believes that pressure from groups like Amnesty International is the only likely way to save Ashtiani.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International made a new call to the Iranian government to immediately halt all executions and put a halt on all death sentences.  According to Amnesty, Iran has issued 126 executions so far in 2010.

In 2007, in reaction to another stoning case in Iran, Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen, said, “To execute anyone by stoning is barbaric and disgraceful; to execute a woman for adultery in this cruel way simply beggars belief… Iran should abolish the sentence of stoning once and for all.

Of course, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases.  Execution by stoning, however, is particularly cruel, because according to Iranian penal code, it is specifically designed to increase the victim’s suffering since the stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately.