"TEHRAN: An Iranian rights group yesterday voiced concern at the fate of eight women and one man sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and urged the Islamic republic to halt their executions" Kuwait News reports.

"We are very worried, as there are at least eight women and one man with a definitive verdict which can be carried out any moment," said lawyer Shadi Sadr from the Volunteer Lawyers' Network, which represents the female convicts. "There are no guarantees that the punishments will be halted or commuted.

Under Iran's Islamic law, adultery is still punishable by stoning, which involves the public hurling stones at the convict buried up to his waist. A woman is buried up to her shoulders. In July 2007 the Islamic republic drew international outrage by stoning to death a man convicted of adultery, Jafar Kiani, in a village in the northwest of the country.

The lawyers' network said a man and a woman - Abbas H., and Mahbubeh A. - were also stoned to death in May 2006 in the northeastern city of Mashhad. "A directive cannot be above law, and we say as long as the law has not changed, judges can give such rulings," Sadr said.

Stoning deaths for adultery are part of the Islamic laws they want enforced in all the world.

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