The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Stoning is a form of capital punishment in which a human is killed by

  1. having stones thrown at them repeatedly
  2. having a single stone of sufficient size placed upon them so as to prevent their breathing
  3. having a large door placed upon them and laden with stones
  4. being thrown from a height onto a large stone or rock outcropping.

It has been used since ancient times to punish people judged as criminals; these included prostitutes, adulterers, and murderers.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, stoning is specifically prescribed as the method of execution for a whole range of crimes.

Stoning has been criticized as cruel and its use in most places has been abandoned for methods believed to be more humane, such as electrocution, the gas chamber and lethal injection.

This form of execution is still practiced in some Islamic countries governed by Sharia law, including: Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. The person to be killed is wrapped in a sheet and buried. Male convicts are buried from the waist down. Female convicts are buried deeper to prevent the breasts from becoming exposed. The crowd then pelts the culprit repeatedly with rocks. The stones are small enough so that a single stone cannot cause death. In some places, if the criminal manages to become free, and escapes, further punishment is canceled.

Last updated: 05-17-2005 23:32:09