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Marx Reichlich : Stoning of St. Stephen , painted 1506

The stoning ( Latin lapidatio from lapis 'stone') is a millennia-old way of execution . It is carried out by groups of people who kill the person, who is often buried up to the waist or under the chest, by throwing stones at their head and upper body.

This practice was common in ancient times as a social form of revenge that allowed a group to kill a victim immediately.

Even animals that humans had killed were stoned.

It is still practiced today in some Islamic states and regions, either after judgments by a judicial organ ( monarch or court ) or as a means of lynching . These include Afghanistan , the Indonesian province of Aceh , Iran , Iraq , Yemen , Nigeria , Pakistan , Somalia , Sudan , Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates . It was reintroduced in Brunei in 2014.

This type of execution, which is considered to be particularly cruel and relatively slow, violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , whose prohibition of torture and cruel degrading punishments (Art. 5) has been incorporated into the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art. 7) and approved by the UN Convention against Torture was concretized. Stoning for offenses such as adultery also breaks the principle of proportionality .

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, the Greek often full citizens were a Polis stoned that the high and treason , the desertion , the murder of her mother, the temple robbery of or otherwise disregard gods had been found guilty. This was probably preceded by a process that ended in a council decision or a referendum. In the case of those caught in the act or caught fugitives who had already been charged, their guilt was considered proven, so the stoning could be carried out directly. This happened outside of the respective urban area, for example on a river bank, by council members and / or the urban population.

Such cases have been documented in narrative literature since the Iliad and are also confirmed as a continuing practice by corresponding scenes in classical dramas .

Judaism and Christianity

Stoning is required in the Tanakh, and accordingly also in the Old Testament, as a punishment for deeds by Israelites in Israel that were considered crimes against God and the whole people. These included idolatry (e.g. Dtn 17.5  EU ), breaking the commandment to keep the Sabbath ( Num 15.35  EU ), divination ( Lev 20.17  EU ), adultery ( Lev 20.10  EU ; Dtn 22 , 22  EU ), disobedience to the parents ( Dtn 21,21  EU ) and blasphemy (e.g. in Lev 24,14-16  EU ). This type of punishment should have a deterrent effect on the people ( violence in the Bible ).

In the New Testament, the stoning is mentioned several times, but not as punishment , but as a threat by lynching from the people ( Mt 21,35  EU ; 23.37 EU ; Lk 20,6  EU ). This reflects the situation of the Roman occupation at the time, when the Roman governor reserved the sole right to decide on the death penalty and its execution. Nonetheless, stoning was still considered by representatives of Judaism to be the type of execution required for certain offenses under the Torah , for example for willful breach of the Sabbath law or arrogance towards religious authorities. Therefore, according to the New Testament reports, Jesus of Nazareth was repeatedly exposed to the danger of spontaneous stoning ( Jn 8,59  EU ; 10,31-39 EU ). According to Jn 8 : 1-11  EU, he himself saved a woman accused of adultery from being stoned by making the obstacles set in Lev 20.10 and Dtn 17.6-7 more difficult (the accusers should start throwing stones): " Whoever of you is without sin , first cast the stone on them ”(Jn 8: 7). According to Lev 20,10 and Dtn 22,22, the man involved in the alleged adultery should have been stoned.

After the Roman governor Pontius Pilate 36 had been deposed and his successor had not yet arrived, the Sanhedrin took advantage of the vacancy of the office and reapplied stoning for religious offenses. The early Christian missionary Stephen was sentenced to death for blasphemy and stoned by the accusers in front of the city ( Acts 7.54-60  EU ). Paul was stoned to death by a crowd in Lystra but survived ( Acts 14 : 19-20  EU ).

The original method was later toned down. The Talmud tells that in the case of such death-worthy crimes, the delinquents were given an agent to numb them prior to execution. In Talmudic Judaism, stoning is discussed in the Mishnah ( Tractate Sanhedrin 7.2 ff.) (VII 4a):

“These are stoned: he who attends [his] mother, who attends the wife of the father, the daughter-in-law, a man or a cattle, or a woman who attends a cattle, and a blasphemer, who practices idolatry, who of his descendants to Moloch there, a necromancer , a fortune teller, who profaned the Sabbath, who cursed his father or mother, who attended an engaged girl, a seducer, a seducer [to idolatry], a magician and an irrepressible or unruly son. "

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah criticized all forms of capital punishment by calling a court "murderous" that had passed a death sentence only once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon go even further , of whom the following statement has been passed down: "Had we sat in the Synhedrion , no one would have been executed."

If the execution did happen, it was stipulated that the place of execution had to be outside the camp or the city, at such a distance that, until the convicted person was removed, there was an opportunity for a third party or the convicted person to request a retrial and could also request to be brought before the college of judges again in order to be able to submit new motions to amend the death sentence ( Sanh. 6,1). The judges themselves had to fast on the day of execution (bSanh. 63 a).

In connection with Mt 7.1  EU (“do not judge, so that you will not be judged”) and Mt 28.20  EU (“teach them to keep everything that I have commanded you”) Christians have interpreted Jesus' behavior as the abolition of the death penalty which, at least within the denomination, should not be applied. In Europe, which has been shaped by Christianity since the early Middle Ages , stoning was not an official form of execution, but was only used for lynching: for example with Ansverus in Ratzeburg or Stephanos the Younger in Byzantium .


The map shows the states or state-like structures in which stoning is practiced in legal or non-legal form of the death penalty (as of 2013).

Quran, Hadith, Sharia

The Koran , the holy scripture of Islam, does not provide for stoning as a punishment. The so-called stoning verse , which is not included in the canon of the Koran , is said to have offered it as punishment for adulterers.

According to some traditions ( Hadith ), the Prophet Mohammed should, on request, order the stoning of Jews who were guilty of adultery according to the Torah (Deut 22:22), and in more than one case punish the adulteress with stoning and Had adulterers whipped and exiled . Mohammed also ordered the stoning of a man for adultery who, without witnesses accusing him of the act, had himself accused himself of adultery four times.

On this basis, stoning in the Sharia is considered a so-called Hadd punishment . It can then only be imposed in the case of consensual sexual intercourse between two people who are or were married to others (see Zina ). The conviction can be based on a confession or the testimony of at least four male witnesses who claim that they were directly present at the sex act. Since, according to Islamic law, testimony by women is far less serious than that of men and has to be confirmed by two men, women are far more likely to be charged with adultery and sentenced to death by stoning than men.

The Azhar theologian al-Jaziri (1882–1942) described the execution of the stoning in accordance with Sharia law as follows:

“The stoning is done with medium-sized stones, neither with light pebbles - the torment would last too long - nor with boulders - the torment intended by the 'Grenz' punishment would be missed - but with stones that fill the cupped hand; be careful not to hit the face (of the guilty party) because the Prophet has forbidden this ( according to a hadith ) ... The adulterer is not to be bound or shackled during the execution of the 'border' punishment; nor is there a pit to be dug for him. A pit reaching up to her breast can be dug for the adulteress. Her pubic area may not be exposed during the execution. Therefore, the clothes are to be tied to her so that her body is not visible. "

Stoning of the devil in Mina, 2006

Stoning ritual

Part of the pilgrimage ( Hajj ) of a Muslim to Mecca is the symbolic stoning of Satan in Mina . The pilgrim throws seven pebbles picked up on the way against a stone column.


In August 2010 an unmarried pair of lovers, 28-year-old Abdul Qayom and 20-year-old Sedeqa, were publicly stoned in the Bundeswehr deployment area in the Dascht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province .


Stoning of an adulteress . Illustration to the Arabian Nights . Tehran, 1853-1857.

According to Section 83 of the Iranian Criminal Code, the death penalty by stoning is prescribed for adultery . The victims of the execution are buried up to their knees in the ground and completely covered with an opaque cloth, which is mostly white. The stones must not be bigger than the throwing hand in order to delay the death of the condemned. The judge ensures the minimum distance to the convicted person. If the convicted person confesses, the judge may throw the first stone. If the accused has been convicted by testimony, the witnesses throw the first stone.

In August 2010, 11 people were sentenced to stoning in Iran, including 7 women. There has been a moratorium on stoning in Iran since the end of 2002. The Iranian parliament's initiative at the time to abolish stoning was blocked by the Iranian Guardian Council . In February 2003 the chairman of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi , promised to abolish stoning as a form of execution. However, this was only a recommendation; the reform of the criminal law is still pending.

According to Amnesty International, at least seven stonings have been carried out in Iran since 2002 . At least two people were stoned in 2002, and a man and a woman were stoned in 2006. On July 5, 2007, Ja'far Kiani was stoned in Aghche-kand, a village outside Takestan, and in December 2008 two men were stoned to death. According to Dieter Bednarz, six men and one woman were stoned. Parts of the Iranian leadership have been planning to abolish stoning since 2008.

At the beginning of July 2010, two Iranian youths turned to the international public to prevent their mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani , from being stoned to death . According to the spokeswoman for the international committee against stoning, the Iranian authorities cleared the way for Ashtiani to be executed (not necessarily by stoning) in early November 2010. After international diplomatic interventions, etc. a. on the part of the French foreign minister, the Iranian official press agency on November 3, 2010 rejected "Western media reports" and announced that Ashtiani was currently in "good health". The sentence was changed to ten years in prison in early 2011.

In July 2010, the international campaign organization Avaaz collected signatures via the Internet for a petition against stoning; the petition (as of August 2, 2010) was signed by over 551,000 people.


In Nigeria , since 1999, since the introduction of Sharia law in some northern provinces, women have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery on various occasions. After international protests and years of trial, Safiya Hussaini and Amina Lawal were acquitted by the Nigerian Supreme Court in 2001 and 2002.


On October 27, 2008, the Islamist militia al-Shabaab , which gained control of parts of the country in the course of the civil war in Somalia and enforced Sharia law there, had 13-year-old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow stoned in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo . The girl had testified that she had been raped by three men and was found guilty of adultery. Another case occurred on November 6, 2009. A 33-year-old man was stoned to death in the Somali port city of Merka, south of Mogadishu . He and his girlfriend were sentenced to death for adultery. The man's sentence was carried out shortly after the conviction, and the woman should await delivery.


The Tunisian Ghofrane Haddaoui was stoned to death by at least two Tunisian youths in France in 2004 . Although the background could not be fully clarified, this first case of stoning in Europe since the founding of the EU triggered international discussions about the integration of Muslims and how to deal with Islamists .


On April 7, 2007, the Kurdish minor Du'a Khalil Aswad was stoned by a crowd near Mosul , Iraq, in order to punish her for allegedly converting to Islam. Her family belongs to the Yazidis .


Case studies
  • Christine Ockrent (Ed.): The black book on the situation of women: An inventory. Pendo, 1st edition 2007, ISBN 3-86612-134-2
  • Safiya Hussaini, Raffaele Masto, Theda Krohm-Linke: Me, Safiya. Sentenced to death by stoning. Blanvalet, 2nd edition 2006, ISBN 3-442-36485-X
  • Freidoune Sahebjam: The stoned woman - The story of Soraya Manoutchehri , Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-498-06267-0

Web links

Commons : Stoning  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: stoning  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Single receipts

  1. J. Makarewicz: Introduction to the philosophy of criminal law on the basis of development history. (1906) New edition 1967, John Benjamin Verlag, ISBN 978-90-6032-121-8 , pp. 218f. .
  2. Pierer's Universal Lexicon of the Past and Present . 4th edition. Verlagbuchhandlung von HA Pierer , Altenburg 1865 ( [accessed April 24, 2019] lexicon entry "Steinigung").
  3. Camelia Pasandaran, Febriamy Hutapea: Indonesian Government May Abolish Stoning Bylaw ( September 22, 2009 memento in the Internet Archive ), in: Jakarta Globe, September 15, 2009; West Aceh bans 'tight trousers' , BBC News, Oct 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Stoning - an overview ( Memento from October 11, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 3, 2010
  5. ( Memento from April 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  6. International Society for Human Rights: Stoning - an overview: In contradiction to international legal norms .
  7. ^ Winfried Schmitz: Neighborhood and Village Community in Archaic and Classical Greece. Akademie-Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-05-004017-3 , pp. 394-399 ; Bruno Snell: Scenes from Greek Dramas. Walter de Gruyter, 1st edition 1971, ISBN 3-11-001843-8 , p. 5f.
  8. ^ Pentateuch and Haftaroth. With commentary by Joseph Herman Hertz . Volume III, p. 212.
  9. Emma Batha: FACTBOX: Stoning - where does it happen? . In: . Thomson Reuters Foundation. September 29, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  10. ^ W. Montgomery Watt: Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity. Routledge, 1989, p. 20.
  11. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition, Brill, Leiden. Volume 11, p. 508 (“Zinā”) and references there; W. Montgomery Watt: Islam and the Integration of Society. Routledge, 1998, p. 192 and references there. In the hadith of u. a. Abu Huraira , Gabir Ibn Abdullah and Sahih Bukhari (according to Hadith no. 6831 f) are told of several stoning orders that were ordered by the Prophet; see. "Punishment of Disbelievers at War with Allah and His Apostle", University of Southern California, Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement - ( Memento of August 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  12. - ( Memento of March 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  13. Abd al-Rahman al-Jaziri: Kitab al-fiqh 'ala l-madhahib al-arba'a, Vol. VS 48, quoted from Tilman Nagel: The Islamic Law. An introduction. Westhofen 2001, p. 88f.
  14. Friedemann Needy: World religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism. History, values, traditions. Naumann and Goebel, 1st edition 2010, ISBN 3-625-12818-7 , p. 69.
  15. Die Zeit online from August 16, 2010 Taliban rock lovers near Kunduz ; Spiegel online from August 16, 2010 Taliban stoned couple near the army camp .
  16. ^ Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800 , University of Illinois Press, 2003. p. 231
  17. a b Amnesty International: Urgent Action No. UA-179/2007 Mokarrameh Ebrahimi , July 9, 2007.
  18. of July 28, 2010 Iran suspends Ashtiani's stoning for the time being .
  19. Impending stoning in Iran .
  20. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2003 ( Memento of December 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
  21. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2007
  22. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2008 ( Memento of May 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
  23. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2009
  24. from August 16, 2010 The first stone .
  25. Bahman Nirumand: Plans of the Iranian Government: Stoning should be abolished. In: taz. August 7, 2008.
  26. Manuela Pfohl: Threatening stoning of Ashtiani. On: stern-online. July 8, 2010.
  27. Manuela Pfohl: Threatening stoning of Astiani. On: stern-online. July 9, 2010.
  28. Mitra Mobasherat: Report: Iranian authorities give go-ahead to execute woman ( memento from November 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), on:, Nov. 2, 2010 and Aschtiani's stoning is said to be imminent : Frankfurter Rundschau online Nov 2, 2010.
  29. Iranian woman has not been executed, official says ( Memento of November 3, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) on: November 3, 2010.
  30. Iran suspends the death penalty against Ashtiani from January 17, 2011.
  31. Stop the stoning! - The call is: To Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian leadership: We call on you to finally suspend the death penalty by stoning and to overturn the arbitrary sentence in the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. ( Memento of July 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) On: .
  32. ^ Rolf Hofmeier, Andreas Mehler : Africa Yearbook 2002. Politics, economy and society in Africa south of the Sahara. Vs Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-8100-3782-6 , p. 158.
  33. Amnesty International: Somalia: Girl stoned was a child of October 13-31 , 2008.
  34. Adulterers stoned to death in Somalia. On: NZZ-online. November 7, 2009.
  35. ^ Charles Bremner: Stoned to death ... why Europe is starting to lose its faith in Islam , The Times , December 4, 2004.
  36., April 25, 2007: Video Captures Stoning of Kurdish Teenage Girl .