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Hoax Alert

Fake News: NOT A Photo Of Woman In Iran Being Given Spoonful Of Water Before Being Stoned To Death

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 04 Aug 2018 09:47:40 Z)

Is this a picture of a woman in Iran getting a spoonful of water before being stoned to death, and is this part of sharia law? No, the picture is from a 2003 protest in Colombia where activists had themselves burried up to the neck in protest against the government not relocating some displaced persons. The photo has nothing to do with Islam, Iran or sharia law. Despite this it has been circulated with a false caption on various social networks.

An example of the picture was posted to /r/the_donald on Reddit on August 3, 2018 (archived here) with following caption:

A woman just before being stoned to death in Iran under Shariah laws. At some places on this Earth, women's rights are limited to getting a spoonful of water before stoning. Still want to tell me that Islam is worthy of being part of our civilisation?

An older post on a Facebook page named "Stop the Mosques Australia" claimed the image was taken from a Youtube video and added following comment:

THE "RELIGION OF PEACE" AT WORK in Iran defending it's moral standards under sharia law...defending them from such clearly dangerous reprobates as this woman, about to be stoned to death, and allowed the generous luxury of a spoonful of water before her agonising death.

The image was also being spread on Twitter with a false description:

Screenshot of https://i.redd.it/baobghtzctd11.jpg

However the photo comes from a series of stock photos from a 2003 protest. The woman's name is Maria Gabriela Ruiz and in this photo she can be seen being comforted by her grandchild:

ELDERLY COLOMBIAN WOMAN BURIED UP TO HER NECK DURING PROTEST. - Buy this stock photo and explore similar images at Adobe Stock

ELDERLY COLOMBIAN WOMAN BURIED UP TO HER NECK DURING PROTEST. - Buy this stock photo and explore similar images at Adobe Stock

In the further description given by the stock photo site we can learn what really happened:

Colombian Maria Gabriela Ruiz, 66, (C) is aided by a woman while shelies 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.

Note that this does not mean stoning doesn't happen in Iran or that the Iranian authorities don't condone the practice as this story from Amnesty International illustrates:

Iran: Writer facing imminent imprisonment for story about stoning

Iranian authorities must immediately repeal the conviction and sentence of Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a writer and human rights activist who is due to begin serving six years in prison on charges including "insulting Islamic sanctities" through the writing of an unpublished story about the horrific practice of stoning, Amnesty International said today.

It just means the picture being circulated is false and it probably shouldn't be used by people trying to do something about the whole situation because it weakens their argument.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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