Are Honor Killings Ever Committed By Stoning?

The short answer is yes. Although honor killings are most often conducted in private circumstances in brutal ways, the perpetrator’s intent is usually to end the life of the victim as quickly as possible — which makes sense, considering the victim is almost always a “beloved” member of the immediate family. But stonings have still taken place throughout history, especially when the victim’s community is small and tight-knit.

Du’a Khalil Aswad was 17 when she was killed in 2007, stoned to death in Iraq. The worst part? The murder was filmed. But thankfully, this is why the public at large knows about the crime.

Mark Lattimer of The Guardian wrote: “After Du’a’s death, the international media widely repeated a claim made on a number of Islamic extremist websites that she had been killed because she converted to Islam, but local reports do not concur. Some people tell me she had run away with her Muslim boyfriend and they had been stopped at a checkpoint outside Mosul; others say she had been seen by her father and uncle just talking with the boy in public and, fearing her family’s reaction, they had sought protection at the police station. Either way, the police handed Du’a into the custody of a local Yazidi sheikh.”

The fact that the local police may have been complicit in the young girl’s subsequent murder was one of the reasons it made headlines around the world. But it gets worse. When she finally decided to return home, hundreds or even thousands came after her, at which point she was dragged to the town square to await her execution by stoning.

Brain injury Socal expert Jordan Davis explained what stoning would feel like for the victim: “Stoning is an extremely brutal process, normally used in Middle Eastern countries as a form of punishment against those accused of committing religious crime. It’s even worse than most people understand. The victim is normally buried up to the waist or chest, depending on gender. Stones are most often tangerine-sized. Not big enough that one or two would result in death, but big enough to do some damage.”

Davis continued: “The stoning takes perhaps an hour or less depending on the crowd. The first few stones will likely lead to concussion, blurred vision, and general confusion. Once the bleeding begins, loss of consciousness is common. Victims who stay awake for most of the process are much more likely to experience nausea and vomit. Not a pretty way to die.”

Her murder took about thirty minutes. She was stripped naked and stoned without being buried, at which point her body was tied to a vehicle and dragged through the town. Once the debacle was ended, she was buried with a dead dog as a form of disrespect. Allegedly, the entire affair occurred because she converted to Islam.

The event caused a tinderbox to erupt into a firestorm, and a subsequent protest resulted in the killing of many hundreds of Kurdish Iraqi citizens who were protesting the honor killing. A number of other similar events resulted in the deaths of many more dozens.