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Prominent Shiite Clerics Diverge From Iran on 'Islamic' Punishment

While Iran continues to enforce Islamic punishment through its legal system, many Shiite clerics remain critical of such practices.
Shi'ite Muslims attend a religious ritual at the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, January 8, 2011.  REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS) - RTXWC4X

The implementation of Islamic criminal law, most notably in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, is a source of concern for international human rights organizations.

Punishments included in the Islamic penal code, such as stoning and dismemberment, were once common practice among many tribes in ancient times. Yet prior to the Islamic Revolution in Iran, such practices were banned in Shiite Islamic jurisprudence. The authority to implement such punitive measures was reserved for the infallible Shiite imams.

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