January 05, 2012
Stoning in Iran
As a vivid example of the ghastliness that can ensue when religious people gain political power, we have the case of people who are condemned to death by stoning in Iran. According to an ACLU pamphlet that I received, at least 14 people are currently awaiting this form of execution.
Bound, wrapped in shrouds and buried in a pit with head and shoulders above ground, the victims are likely to survive for between 20 minutes and two hours from when the first stone draws blood. The reason they survive so long can be found in the chillingly clinical wording of Article 104 of the Iranian Penal Code:
'The size of the stone used in stoning shall not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws and at the same time shall not be too small to be called a stone.'
As can be seen in this passage and in the instruments of torture and death developed during the Inquisition, religious people can be quite ingenious in the careful way they devise ways to prolong the agony of their victims.