TEHRAN (Reuters) -- A man has been stoned to death in Iran for adultery but the woman involved in the case repented, the judiciary said, suggesting her life was spared.
The Islamic republic has been heavily criticized by the European Union, rights groups, and the United Nations for stoning criminals and there are official Iranian recommendations the practice should not occur.
Asked whether he could confirm that a man charged with adultery was stoned to death in the northern city of Rasht during the Iranian month that ended on March 20, judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference:
"What you said about stoning is correct. But the woman repented.... Among the instances in which the sentence is not performed is when there is a repentance by the individual involved."
Iranian media said the executed man was 30 years old.
According to Iran's Islamic Penal Code, men convicted of adultery should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests for stoning. Stones used should not be large enough to kill the person immediately.
In January, Jamshidi said two men convicted of adultery were stoned to death the previous month in the northeastern city of Mashhad, but a third convicted man escaped while the punishment was being carried out.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a nongovernmental group based outside Iran, said that someone who was convicted on the basis of another's testimony and who escaped the stoning pit may have their life spared.
Iran's judiciary, which ordered a moratorium on stoning in 2002, last year said the lives of four people sentenced to stoning had been spared and the implementation of other sentences had been halted pending a review of their cases.
Iran has implemented Shari'a law since its 1979 revolution.