A man found guilty of adultery has been stoned to death in Iran in spite of a ban on the practice.

Reports said the victim was a 30-year-old government employee identified as "V," although he was named on some Web sites as Vali Azad.

The execution is said to have taken place in a prison in the northern city of Rasht on March 5.

A spokesman for Iran's judiciary said the woman involved in the case has "repented and so has not been stoned."

Under Iran's Islamic law, people convicted of adultery can still be stoned to death.

The guilty person is partially buried in a public spot — men up to their waists and women to their shoulders.

Stones are then hurled at them until they are dead — although if they manage to free themselves their lives are spared.

In 2002, judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi banned the executions.

But five Iranians have reportedly been stoned to death in the past four years, including two men in Mashhad last December.

The United Nations and European Union have called on Iran to abolish the punishment.

Iranian human rights campaigners have also urged the Islamic republic to end it.

Capital offenses in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, serious drug trafficking, repeated sodomy, adultery or prostitution, treason and espionage.

Human rights group Amnesty International calculates Iran applied the death penalty more than any other country apart from China in 2007, executing 335 people.

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