It has been used since ancient times to punish people judged as criminals; these included prostitutes, adulterers, and murderers.
This form of execution is still practiced in some Islamic countries governed by Sharia law, namely: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. The person to be killed is wrapped in a sheet and buried from the waist down. The mob then pelts the culprit repeatedly with rocks. The stones are small enough so that a single stone cannot cause death. In some places, if the criminal manages to become free, and escapes, further punishment is canceled.