This article was originally posted on the Daily Mail UK website here and was written by: Richard Pendlebury
Though poor in quality, the video is sufficiently clear to reveal the horror that is unfolding.
We see a patch of open ground in front of a low building. A crowd of men stand and stare as two figures, shrouded from head to toe, are carried into their midst.
Some of the spectators produce spades and begin to dig with a febrile enthusiasm.
Soon there are two holes into which the trussed figures are planted upright, as far as their waists. Then the diggers fill in the space around them; they are trapped.
Brutal: A woman is buried before being stoned in Iran
An older man has the 'honour' of throwing the first of a large pile of stones which a truck has deposited close by. Then everyone joins in; stooping, hurling and stooping again, as though at a coconut shy.
But their targets, only a few metres away, are the heads of the two helpless human beings buried in the dirt.
Within minutes, the white cloth swathing them is soaked red with blood. Gore spreads across the ground as the writhing figures slump into merciful unconsciousness amid the mob's continuing fusillade of small rocks.
More...Now Hague joins the international wave of fury against Iran's decision to stone 'adulterous' mother to death
I watched this sickening film yesterday morning. Posted on the internet by a human rights group, it shows the execution in Tehran of two Iranians convicted of adultery.
There was a confusion among sources about the pair's gender. But the depth at which the victims were buried suggests they were males - after all, the law states that women should be buried up to their necks before having their heads smashed to pulp.
So much for the barbaric niceties of detail beloved of the ayatollahs ruling the Islamic republic of Iran.
Death by stoning, enshrined in the Iranian penal code, has been condemned by human rights groups both there and abroad since its introduction after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Victim: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is facing a horrific execution by stoning
This week, the proposed execution by stoning of a mother-of-two called Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani once again put the Iranian regime on collision course with Western opinion.
Mrs Ashtiani, 43, has spent five years in jail and endured 99 lashes for alleged adultery. But apparently she was not punished enough.
The British and U.S. governments were trenchant in their criticism.
Yesterday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was 'appalled' by reports of the imminent execution.
'I think stoning is a medieval punishment that has no place in the modern world, and the continued use of such a punishment in Iran demonstrates a blatant disregard for human rights,' he added.
Last night, in a dramatic development, it appeared that the Iranian authorities had backed down in the face of such international criticism.
They announced that the stoning would not now go ahead. However, Mrs Ashtiani may still be executed by other means.
She would have gone to her death unnoticed outside Iran if it hadn't been for her son's desperate actions.
At no little risk to his own life and liberty, Sajad Ghadarzade, 22, brought his mother's plight to international attention by appealing to human rights groups and publicising letters he sent to the Iranian judiciary.
In one he declared: 'There is no justice in this country.' Recent events in Iran have suggested as much.
'The deaths of scores of pro-democracy demonstrators last year and the imprisonment and sometimes torture of thousands of others were shocking.
To the great embarrassment and anger of the regime, the image of 26-year-old student Neda Agha Soltan dying in the street after being shot by security forces became a global symbol of its brutality.
Mrs Ashtiani's case somehow seems even more disturbing. Her life is in the hands of a regime that aspires to be a nuclear power.
Yet it also appeared to countenance the stoning to death of a middle-aged mother from one of its own provincial cities.
Significantly, it is widely held that stoning has no basis in the Koran. Yet it is there in black and white in the Iranian penal code.
Article 83 says: 'Adultery in the following cases shall be punishable by stoning: (1) Adultery by a married man who is wedded to a permanent wife with whom he has had intercourse and may have intercourse when he so desires;
(2) Adultery of a married woman with an adult man provided the woman is permanently married and has had intercourse with her husband and is able to do so again.'
Article 102 sets out the depths at which men and women should be buried before stoning, as already mentioned.
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Article 104 is horrifically specific about the size of stones to be used: 'Not to be so large that a person dies after being hit with two of them, nor so small as to be defined as pebbles.'
In other words, the stoning must last long enough for the victim to suffer grievous pain before losing consciousness. The mob must have its pious fun.
It is difficult to estimate how many have met this fate since the Iranian revolution, but there is considerable documentary evidence that stonings were a regular occurrence in the Eighties and Nineties, with at least 50 women executed in this way over a ten-year period.
Amnesty International has stated in a recent report on stonings in Iran: 'Women suffer disproportionately from such punishment.
'They are particularly vulnerable to unfair trials because they are more likely than men to be illiterate and therefore more likely to sign confessions to crimes they did not commit.
'Discrimination against women in other aspects of their lives also leaves them more susceptible to conviction for adultery.'
Indeed, a woman's testimony is considered to be worth only half that of a man in an Iranian court, as witnessed in Penal Article 74 concerning the number of witnesses needed to prove adultery.
It requires for proof the evidence of 'four just men, or three just men and two just women'.
There are a number of gruesome accounts of Article 83 being enforced.
In August 1994, a woman was stoned to death in the city of Arak. Her husband and two children were forced to watch her barbaric punishment.
The woman was blinded by the stoning, but remained conscious and even managed to free herself from the hole and stagger away. To no avail.
She was reportedly caught and shot.
Such stories, and smuggled videos such as the one I watched yesterday, heaped embarrassment on even the hardline ayatollahs.
In 2002, a moratorium was declared on execution by stoning. There are now moves to remove the punishment from the penal code.
And yet judges continue to sentence men and women to such a death, and the Iranian Supreme Court continues to ratify the decisions.
World-wide shock: Neda Agha Soltan was killed during a protest by a shot fired from the guns of security forces in Iran
Mrs Ashtiani, a widow, was first arrested five years ago and convicted of having an 'illicit relationship' with two men, for which they were all flogged. That punishment was witnessed by her son, then aged 17.
But the authorities had not finished with her. A 'review' of her case led to her being charged, along with one of her alleged lovers, with the murder of her husband.
She was also charged for a second time with adultery. Mrs Ashtiani denied any wrongdoing.
At trial she was cleared of murder. But three out of the five male judges decided she was guilty of adultery. Death by stoning was the sentence.
Since then, she has languished in a prison in the northern city of Tabriz, along with at least two other women, one aged only 19, who are awaiting similar executions.
Meanwhile, her son lobbied the highest authorities in Iran for his mother's conviction to be thrown out.
They have included Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Ahmadinejad and the chief judge Ayatollah larijani. Her son says they took no notice of his entreaties. So he widened his protest to the world.
In an open letter to his country's leaders, he stated: 'There is no justice in this country.' He also asked of his mother's second trial: 'Why has an accused . . . been twice prosecuted on the same charge. . .(when) . . . even according to the Islamic criminal law a convict should be prosecuted for a crime once and not more than once?'
He and his sister, Farideh, 17, wrote another open letter to the international community in which they said: 'We stretch our hands to the people of the world. No matter who you are or where in the world, save our mother.'
This open defiance of a harsh regime - and the cultivation of support from its enemies abroad - was a desperate gamble for an Iranian citizen. But up to a point it has worked.
Progress is often built on self-sacrifice, and the courage of this woman and her children could be another step towards ending the tyranny of the ayatollahs.
It could also lead to a new low in Iran's relationship with the West.
I honestly don't know what we can do as individuals, but this has to stop, it is barbaric.
It rained on Friday finally, however it was still as hot and humid as it has been for most of the day. The Bell guy came and moved our satellite dish and the tv is working fine now, so a bit of good news there.
I actually got the fridge cleaned out on Friday. Don't you hate it when you find all sorts of bits and bobs in there past their sell by date?
I also made the time to catch up with other blogs, finally. I am slo thinking about setting up an Etsy store to sell my quilting, any tips?