It's bad enough Iran is developing a nuclear program and its leader wants to wipe Israel off the map, but isn't this sort of thing more than enough to make the nation a bigger pariah than South Africa was during the apartheid era?
There are also questions about whether adultry was even committed.
TEHRAN (AFP) - Two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the supreme court upheld the death sentences against them, the Etemad newspaper Monday quoted their lawyer as saying.
The two were found guilty of adultery -- a capital crime in Islamic Iran -- after the husband of one sister presented video evidence showing them in the company of other men while he was away.
"Branch 23 of the supreme court has confirmed the stoning sentence," said their lawyer, Jabbar Solati.
The penal court of Tehran province had already sentenced the sisters identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar (no age given) to stoning, the daily said.
Solati explained that the two sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and received 99 lashes. However in a second trial they were convicted of "adultery."
The pair admitted they were in the video presented by the husband but argued that there was no adultery as none of the footage showed them engaged in a sexual act with other men.
"There is no legal evidence whereby the judge could have the knowledge for issuing a stoning sentence," Solati said, adding that he had appealed to the state prosecutor.
"The two sisters have been tried twice for one crime," Solati protested.
Under Iran's Islamic law adultery is theoretically punishable by stoning, although in late 2002 judiciary head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi issued a writ suspending such executions.
However in July 2007, Jafar Kiani was stoned to death for adultery in a village in the northwestern province of Qazvin in a rare execution by stoning that provoked a wave of international outrage.
Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, serious drug trafficking and adultery. Iran currently makes more use of the death penalty -- almost always by hanging -- than any other country apart from China.
Zohreh's husband -- who accused his wife and her sister in January 2007 of having extra-marital affairs -- had planted a camera in his house in a bid to catch them in the act.
"She did not treat me well and her actions made me feel she did not want to live with me any more," said the husband, who was not named.
"To make sure I planted a camera in the house... When I watched the tape two days after, I found out that she and her sister brought over men after I left and had relationships with them," he said.
Zohreh said she had an edgy relationship with her husband because of the strict limits he imposed on her life.
"I was a teacher and loved my job but my husband did not let me work... he was always suspicious of me and thought our differences were because I had an affair," she was quoted as saying by the daily.
"I do not approve the confessions that I made in the investigation phase and I deny what I said," she said.
Etemad reported that the husband of the other sister, Azar, had not filed any complaint against her.
UPDATE: Nine minors condemned to death in Iran are waiting in prison for their 18th birthday when they will be executed.
h/t konservo at LGF