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The stoning of Malak Ghorbany

The stoning of Malak Ghorbany

Author: Ayse Özgün
Publication: Turkish Daily News
Date: July 16, 2006
URL: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=48977

All we know about her is that her name is Malak Ghorbany. She was born in the city of Nagadeh in eastern Iran. She was married. She committed adultery. She is presently serving time in Iran's Urmia Prison. According to the Sharia law in effect in Iran, she will be stoned to death after being buried in the ground up to her breasts.

What a beastly and cowardly act! Why beastly? Because that is as inhumane of an act as possible, that's why. Perhaps the followers of Sharia law should consider the reasons why a burial in the ground followed by stoning was a practice in times when electricity was not even discovered and emotions of revenge were running high. Perhaps they should begin "thinking," as our Koran's first chapter suggests, as a true Muslim, to use the brain Allah has placed in our skulls, which differentiates us from birds, bees, bears, bison and camel. Why cowardly? Because Ghorbany's husband is getting the "mother of all revenges," i.e., the finality of death -- with the help, support and power of the government -- instead of getting some psychological support to get over a hard-to-accept act. As it says in the Koran, only Allah can take away life he has given.

I could not believe my eyes when I read that the Sharia law practiced in Iran went so far as to specify the size and shape of stones worth using in this crime against humanity. That is right. If you are an Iranian out to stone a woman to death some morning, you could not pick up and throw just any old stone. It has to be a particular shape and size. It seems Iranian Law Number 102 is very specific about this subject. I wonder where the writers of this law found this in the Koran. Or probably this specification is the result of many such practices where stones used were too small and did not kill.

The law, it seems, is also specific about the amount of earth that should be used to bury a woman in the ground. It seems you have to bury her "up to her breasts" and not more. I wonder why. Can any of you readers guess? As for a man who has committed adultery, the burying level is up to his waist. That also makes one wonder.

I wish I could have a chance to talk to Malak Ghorbany before she is executed. I wish I could hear her side of the story.

How come we do not know whether the man who "committed adultery" with her is also in prison and waiting for execution? We know she couldn't be capable of committing adultery by herself. Is the government taking sides on the issue and leaving the man alone while condemning poor Malak to death by stoning?

No doubt Malak has children. No doubt she has not led an easygoing and comfortable life. We don't even know if her husband used violence at home. But shouldn't there be family consulting services in all parts of Iran (and all developing nations for that matter) where wives and husbands can seek advice to get out of their quickly snowballing traumatic feelings? Crimes of passion are committed in developed nations as well but nowhere does an article exist where punishment by death is the sentence.

I urge lawmakers in Iran to please reconsider their system of stoning to death a person who has committed adultery. It is clear that harsh sentences and their implementation do not halt re-occurrence.


At long last I am off to our village for a breath of fresh air and to reunite with nature. Unless there is some very important issue that I want to comment on, I will be away from this corner for at least a month. I thank all my readers for the letters and messages they have sent me. Please take care.

The world should do all it can to stop the Iranian authorities from executing Malak Ghorbany.

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