Young woman saved from being stoned to death in Iran

Jabari v. Turkey  | 2000

Young woman saved from being stoned to death in Iran

… at the age of 22, the applicant met a man in Iran while attending a secretarial college. She fell in love with him and after some time they decided to get married.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, July 2000


Hoda Jabari was 22 when she fell in love. She had met the man at college in Iran. The couple decided that they should get married.

However, their love was forbidden by his family. His parents stopped the marriage, and two years later he ended up marrying someone else. Nevertheless, Ms Jabari continued to see him in secret.

They were soon both arrested by the Iranian police. The officers gave Ms Jabari a virginity examination. She was suspected of participating in adultery, for which she could be stoned to death under Iranian law.

With the help of her family, Hoda was released a few days later. Still under threat of stoning, she fled to Istanbul. Ms Jabari tried to seek asylum in Turkey, but her request was denied because it had been made too late. The Turkish authorities were about to send her back to Iran when she appealed to the European Court of Human Rights for help.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The court ruled that sending Hoda back to Iran to face a possible stoning would violate her basic rights.

… punishment of adultery by stoning still remains on the statute book [in Iran] and may be resorted to by the authorities…

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, July 2000


Hoda was not sent back to Iran. Following the European court’s ruling she was granted a residence permit in Turkey. She left to seek a new life in Canada in 2001. 

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