Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions A/HRC/14/24/Add.1 para
478
Full recommendation:
We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the rights under
international law of Sareimeh Ebadi and Bu-Ali Janfeshani are respected. Considering the irremediable
nature of capital punishment and the fact that the death sentence for adultery is incompatible with your
Government’s obligations under international law, this can only mean suspension of the executions and
eventually commutation of the death sentences.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The 2013 Islamic Penal Code criminalizes adultery. Under Article 225, women and men who meet the
condition of ihsan2 are punished by stoning. However, in cases where the implementation of a stoning
sentence is not possible, a woman or a man who has been convicted of adultery may be executed by
hanging upon the approval of the Head of the Judiciary.3 The punishment of fornication between a man
and a woman who do not meet the condition of ihsan is 100 lashes.4
Under Article 6 of the ICCPR, the death penalty may only be imposed for “the most serious crimes” in
accordance with international law. In its latest General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights
Committee explicitly stipulated that the term “the most serious crimes” must “be read restrictively and
appertain only to crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing. Crimes not resulting directly
and intentionally in death […], although serious in nature, can never serve as the basis, within the
framework of Article 6, for the imposition of the death penalty.”5 The Committee further states “Under no
circumstances can the death penalty ever be applied as a sanction against conduct the very criminalization
of which violates the Covenant, including adultery”.6

1

CCPR.6.2.S.1
CCPR.6.2.P.1
2 Individuals who commit adultery are sentenced to stoning if they meet the condition of ihsan. Under Article 226 of the 2013
Islamic Penal Code the conditions of ihsan are as follows:
“ (a) Ihsan of a man is defined as a status that a man is married to a permanent and pubescent wife and has had vaginal
intercourse with her whilst he has been sane and pubescent and can have vaginal intercourse with her whenever he so wishes.
(b) Ihsan of a woman is defined as a status that a woman who is married to her permanent and pubescent husband and the
husband has had vaginal intercourse with her whilst she was sane and pubescent and she is able to have vaginal intercourse with
her husband.” Article 227 of the Islamic Penal Code adds that “parties to a marriage shall not meet the conditions
of ihsan [mentioned in article 226] during periods such as travel, imprisonment, menstruation, lochia, any illness that prevents
sexual intercourse, or any illness that puts the other party at risk such as AIDS and syphilis”, English translation, Iran Human
Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
3 The 2013 Islamic Penal Code, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
4 The 2013 Islamic Penal Code, Article 230, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
5
UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35,
https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e5e75e04.html
6 UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35,
https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e5e75e04.html

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