This article originally appeared in Kurdistan 24.
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iranian court recently sentenced to death two Kurdish women on adultery charges, a Kurdish rights group reported on Monday.
“A Kurdish woman for Mako by the name of Gulistan Jnikanlou was sentenced to death by the Khoy Criminal Court of West Azerbaijan Province, accused of committing zina,” reported Hengaw, a group which writes on human rights violations involving Kurds in Iran.
“Zina” is an Arabic term, meaning acts of sexual intercourse prohibited by Islamic law. The court announced its decision on Sunday.
Jnikanlou, a mother of two children, was arrested on allegations of committing adultery in 2017. She was released on bail shortly thereafter.
In the same year, local authorities also arrested a man with whom they claimed Jnikanlou had intercourse. The man’s fate is yet unknown.
The punishments Iran hands out according to what the government considers to be criminal acts have long been criticized by the international community as well as rights groups.
The Khoy Criminal Court also sentenced to death another woman, 37-year-old Zahra Derakhshani. She has been in prison for the past two years awaiting trial.
Both women were arrested on accusations their husbands made.
For both men and women, Iran’s penal code considers adultery to be a “crime against God,” punishable by 100 lashes for unmarried individuals, according to a UNHCR investigation into the country’s laws.
Married offenders are sentenced to death by stoning. Cases of adultery must be proven either by a repeated confession by the defendant or by the testimony of witnesses – four men or three men and two women.
However, in Hodud (morality) crimes such as adultery, the Islamic Republic’s penal code gives judges the authority to use their own “knowledge” to arrive at a verdict in cases lacking substantive evidence.
The Penal Code also permits a husband to kill his wife and her lover, if he caught them in the act.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
This article was originally published in Kurdistan 24.