Iran aims to keep stoning as punishment for adultery, rights group says
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
File: A woman demonstrates against stoning and execution on August 13, 2010 outside Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate.
- A judicial panel has reinserted a stoning provision into a draft law, Human Rights Watch says
- The group says Iranian authorities are holding at least 10 people who face stoning
- The U.S. State Department cites unconfirmed reports of bodies of four women apparently stoned
- Officials in Iran have denied the reports
(CNN) -- Stoning remains the way Iranians -- overwhelmingly women -- are punished for committing adultery, Human Rights Watch said Monday. The international group blasted a judicial council in Iraq, made up of 12 religious jurists, for inserting a stoning provision into a draft law where it had been previously removed.
Last November, security agents with the country's judiciary moved the bodies of four women who had been stoned to the Tehran medical examiner's office, according to reports on the Melli-Mazhabi site, which opposed Iran's government, the U.S. State Department says. CNN cannot confirm the reports.
According to the State Department's report, the unconfirmed accounts say the women's bodies had facial wounds that indicated torture, beatings and stoning.
Officials denied the reports but did not provide alternative explanations for the causes of death, according to the State Department report, adding that the women were allegedly charged with engaging in "illegitimate relationships" and drug use.
There are no statistics that indicate the number of stoning victims, but human rights groups say Iranian authorities are holding at least 10 women and men who face execution by stoning on adultery charges, Human Rights Watch says.
At least 70 people have been executed by stoning in Iran since 1980, the rights group said, and the last known execution by stoning was in 2009.
Iran's semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported on April 27, 2013, that the judicial group known as the Guardian Council had finished reviewing and amending the draft law and that the law would be implemented soon.
OPINION: Iran stonings are a legal nightmare
Dec 2010: Woman convicted of adultery, murder appears on Iranian TV
Nov 2010: Woman sentenced to death by stoning could be spared
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0703 GMT (1503 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories