Friday, July 02, 2010

Arbitrary death sentences

A 43-year-old Iranian woman is facing death by stoning unless an international campaign launched by her children forces the authorities to quash what her lawyer calls a bogus conviction.

Firstly I would like to point out that I in no way identify myself with the international human rights perspective which is taking the lead in the outcry about cases such as this which occur in countries like Iran. I find the basis of their arguments to be abhorrent, and were it not unjust to side with the opposing view, I would support the Iranian position. But I cannot. The Iranian court judgements concerning the stoning to death of people guilty of adultery are applied in far too arbitrary a manner and, in my opinion, contrary to what the Prophet and the Qur'an teach.

There is no question about what the Qur'an says concerning limits that must not be crossed, especially concerning issues such as theft, murder, adultery and even perjury. In the case of adultery, it is unfortunate that news articles carried by the Guardian carry very little, if any, information about the cases or the reasoning of the judges. There is a famous hadith concerning the Prophet's dealing with an adulteress which affirms the very strict limitations that must be placed on applying so strict a punishment. Even in Christianity, there is the famous "Let he without sin cast the first stone" saying which affirms both the existence of the prohibition and the strict limits on applying the punishment.

You do not impose the حد or limit by handing out death sentences like chiclets. The role of a judge is an awesome burden and not one to be taken lightly. The Iranian judges should never be allowed to forget this fact.

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