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Iran: Stoning-to-Death Conviction of Two Sisters Overturned

(Mar. 27, 2009) Supported by a video tape as the main evidence, along with complaints lodged by their husbands, two women were tried at the first criminal court in Tehran, found guilty of adultery, and sentenced to death by stoning. Under intense pressure and the objections of domestic and international human rights organizations, the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, using his veto power, ordered that an appeals court review the case. The court of appeal, following a long retrial, threw out the video tapes as insufficient evidence to prove the allegations. The tapes had been obtained from equipment secretly installed in the defendants' houses. The court thus reversed the conviction, allowing both women to escape the punishment of being stoned to death and to be released from prison. In the course of the appeal, however, both husbands revoked their complaints. (Stoning to Death Conviction of Two Sisters Overturned [in Persian], IRAN TIMES, Dec. 26, 2008, at 5 & 11.)