Information on flogging and stoning for adult single males who committed adultery [IRN26169.E]

In its 18 January 1997 report on Iran, The Economist stated that

Now the regime, mindful that public stoning or lashing or hanging does nothing for its image, keeps the number down, at least in places where the press is likely to notice. In any event, in these hard-up times, the authorities are usually only too happy to accept a hefty fine, if the sentenced man or woman can raise it, in lieu of the prescribed physical punishment. White-collar crime is nearly always settled that way. A poor burglar is more likely to have his fingers cut off. The law on Islamic punishments is specific; fortunately the Iranian constitution allows judges to take it as a guide only.

The following information was provided during a 4 March telephone interview with a professor of anthropology at Concordia University who specializes on Iran.

The source stated that the penalty for adultery for single males depends on whether the act was committed with a single or married woman. The source added that the penalty for committing adultery with a married woman is more severe than with a single woman. Committing adultery with a married women or a child is considered a serious offence and the death penalty is more likely in such cases.

The source, who has reviewed many Iranian court decisions on divorce and adultery, stated that even if the Cadi imposes flogging as the penalty for adultery, it is not systematically applied to adultery cases involving single women. The flogging penalty is often replaced with a prison sentence, fine and the obligation for the single male to marry the single woman.

The source stated that sentences for adultery (whether with a single or married woman) are lighter in Tehran and other large cities than in rural areas. The source added that the government is sensitive to its international image and the number of cases of stoning and flogging has decreased significantly in Tehran.

The source added that flogging in adultery cases is administered to produce long-term visible scars to force the person to remember his crime.

Additional information on this subject could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


The Economist [New York]. 18 January 1997. "Bully-Boys at Work." (NEXIS)

Professor of anthropology, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec. 4 March 1997. Telephone interview.


The Economist [New York]. 18 January 1997. "Bully-Boys at Work." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

One source consulted did not have information on this subject.

On-Line search of the LEXIS-NEXIS database.