FACT CHECK: Miscaptioned Photo Claims To Show Woman Just Before Stoning In Iran

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claimed to show a woman “just before being stoned to death in Iran under Shariah” law. The picture shows the woman buried up to her neck, sipping a spoonful of water.

“At some places on this earth, women’s rights are limited to getting a spoonful of water before stoning,” the image claims.

Verdict: False

The picture, taken in Colombia, not Iran, shows a woman buried in the ground voluntarily as a form of protest, not as a precursor to execution.

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“Still want to tell me that Islam is worthy of being part of our civilization?” the image asks.

The woman in the photo, though, is neither about to be stoned, nor does she live in Iran, nor any other Muslim-majority country. Taken in Colombia, the image depicts a protest that took place in July 2003. The woman, identified as Maria Gabriela Ruiz by Reuters, participates in the protest voluntarily.

According to one photo caption, “Three people, two men and a woman, buried themselves three days ago in protest against the government because 150 displaced persons have not been relocated to a safe sector of Cali.”

Colombian Maria Gabriela Ruiz, 66, (C) is aided by a woman while she lies buried in the ground up to her neck along with Olmedo Gomez, 42, (bottom) and Nicolas Salazar, 32, during a protest in a popular sector of Cali, July 4, 2003. Three people, two men and a woman, buried themselves three days ago in protest against the government because 150 displaced persons have not been relocated to a safe sector of Cali. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Colombian Maria Gabriela Ruiz, 66, and Nicolas Salazar, 32, (rear), who are buried up to their necks in the ground, stage a protest in a popular sector of Cali, July 4, 2003. Three people, two men and a woman, buried themselves three days ago in protest against the government because 150 displaced persons have not been relocated to a safe sector of Cali. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz Pictures of the month July 2003

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Though rarely carried out today, Iranians can be sentenced to death by stoning. Under this practice, women are buried up to their chests and then stoned, while men are buried up to their waists. Stoning in Sharia law is a punishment often associated with adultery or sex outside of marriage.

“Although stoning has become more rare in Iran, such sentences are still being issued by Iranian judges. The probability of a stoning sentence to be carried out is slim due to the international sensitivity of the issue,” human rights activist Maryam Nayeb Yazdi told Fox News in 2015. Speaking about a woman who had just been sentenced to death by stoning, Yazdi said “there is a great chance her sentence may be ‘converted’ to death by hanging.”

Human Rights Watch reported in 2013 that at least 70 people had been stoned to death in Iran since 1980.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter

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