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
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
The U.S. huffing over Ukraine jars with many after recent U.S.-led interventions, writes Simon Tisdall.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
He's 12 years old and going blind -- so his parents are taking him on a trip to fill his world with beautiful images.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is inviting you to a Tweetchat.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Women journalists in the testosterone-fueled world of sports are still the target of abuse.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Photographer Zack Seckler's series presents Botswana from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique view of the savannah.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Concorde is a thing of the past, but a number of companies are racing to release the first supersonic business jet.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 2059 GMT (0459 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
From U.S. President Obama's phone call to Russian President Putin, to a python swallowing a crocodile, browse photos from last week.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Did you know that the idea to mark road surfaces reportedly came from watching a milk truck drip milk on the road?
The undersea cables wiring the Earth: this is what the Internet actually looks like.
Today's five most popular stories