[JURIST] Amnesty International [advocacy website] Tuesday called on Iran to abolish executions by stoning [press release], an execution method that Iran denies is still in official use. Amnesty decried stoning as a "grotesque and horrific" practice designed to inflict maximum suffering on condemned adulterers; it pointed to language in the Iranian penal code [PDF text, in English] that said stones used should be large enough to cause pain, but not large enough to quickly kill the victim. Amnesty said that two people were stoned to death in 2006, despite a moratorium on the practice imposed by the head of the Iranian judiciary in 2002. The Guardian has more.
Iran has faced increasing international criticism [JURIST report], from international rights advocates - including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour - following the stoning execution of a man convicted of adultery in July 2007. Iran Wednesday announced an investigation into the judge [JURIST report] who ordered the execution. A judiciary spokesman suggested that the stoning sentence was upheld by higher authorities, seeking to show that Iran is unfazed by international pressure.