Encyclopedia > Stoning

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Stoning is a form of capital punishment in which a human is killed by having stones thrown at them repeatedly.

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

Stoning has been criticized in the West and in the US as cruel and its use 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, namely: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. The person to be killed is wrapped in a sheet and buried from the waist down. The mob 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.

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