Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Islam Human Rights Activist Tries to Stop Death by Stoning for Iranian Woman

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Admin Singh, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,977
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    A veteran Iranian human rights activist has warned that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

    Only an international campaign designed to pressure the regime in Tehran can save her life, according to Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty.

    "Legally it's all over," Ahadi said Sunday. "It's a done deal. Sakineh can be stoned at any minute."

    "That is why we have decided to start a very broad, international public movement. Only that can help."

    Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

    Ashtiani, who is from the northern city of Tabriz, was convicted of adultery in 2006.

    She was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran.

    She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency.

    Iran's supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.

    Mostafaei believes a language barrier prevented his client from fully comprehending court proceedings. Ashtiani is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.

    The circumstances of Ashtiani's case make it not an exception but the rule in Iran, according to Amnesty International, which tracks death penalty cases around the world.

    "The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women, who suffer disproportionately from such punishment," the human rights group said in a 2008 report.

    On Wednesday, Amnesty made a new call to the Iranian government to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences. The group has recorded 126 executions in Iran from the start of this year to June 6.

    "The organization is also urging the authorities to review and repeal death penalty laws, to disclose full details of all death sentences and executions and to join the growing international trend towards abolition," the statement said.

    Ahadi, who fled Iran in the early 1980s, told CNN that pressure from Amnesty and other organizations and individuals is likely the only way to save Ashtiani.

    "Experience shows (that) ... when the pressure gets very high, the Islamic government starts to say something different," she said.

    In Washington, the State Department has criticized the scheduled stoning, saying it raised serious concerns about human rights violations by the Iranian government.

    "We have grave concerns that the punishment does not fit the alleged crime, " Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said Thursday. "For a modern society such as Iran, we think this raises significant human rights concerns."

    Calling Iran's judicial system "disproportionate" in its treatment of women, Crowley said, "From the United States' standpoint, we don't think putting women to death for adultery is an appropriate punishment."

    Human rights activists have been pushing the Islamic government to abolish stoning, arguing that women are not treated equally before the law in Iran and are especially vulnerable in the judicial system. A woman's testimony is worth half that of a man, they say.

    Article 74 of the Iranian penal code requires at least four witnesses -- four men or three men and two women -- for an adulterer to receive a stoning sentence, said Ahadi, of the International Committee Against Stoning. But there were no witnesses in Ashtiani's case. Often, said Ahadi, husbands turn wives in to get out of a marriage.

    Mostafaei said he could not understand how such a savage method of death could exist in the year 2010 or how an innocent woman could be taken from her son and daughter, who have written to the court pleading for their mother's life.

    The public won't be allowed to witness the stoning, Mostafaei said, for fear of condemnation of such a brutal method. He is hoping there won't be an execution.

    Mostafaei, who himself did jail time in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009, said he realizes the risk of speaking out for Ashtiani, for fighting for human rights. But he doesn't let that deter him.

    He last saw Ashtiani five months ago behind bars in Tabriz. Since then, he said, he has been searching for a way to save her from the stones.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  2. Loading...


  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    She has actually received a reprieve and now her family is working to have her released from jail.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Actually I spoke too soon. There is online updating. But not good. About a week ago the stoning was stayed by the court, but the writ of execution was still in force. The poor women could not be released and remained in jail, only to hear her fate repeated last Thursday. It looks now as if she has been sentenced again, and that her lawyer is also missing.

    This link is to the most recent I could find

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/27/iran-stoning-case-woman-cellmate
     
    • Like Like x 1
    #3 spnadmin, Jul 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2010
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Latest news on this in two parts

    Stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Update: Her Death Penalty Defense Attorney Is Missing, His Wife and Brother-in-Law Held
    Contributor: Terence Lenamon


    SUMMARY:
    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is the woman we wrote about last week -- she faces the horrible, horrible death sentence of stoning in Iran. Her crime? Adultery. Evidence? None. Trials? Two (no double jeopardy protection there).

    Was the Stoning Carried Out?
    There have been no news reports since our post to confirm that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has indeed been executed. Last we knew, the Mullahs had reported that they were not going to respect any stays offered by other local authorities, and the stoning was said to occur within a 24 hour time frame.

    Please see full article below for more information.

    FULL STORY It gets worse.

    Stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Update: Her Death Penalty Defense Attorney Is Missing, His Wife and Brother-in-Law Held

    POSTED ON JULY 28, 2010 BY TERRY LENAMON

    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is the woman we wrote about last week -- she faces the horrible, horrible death sentence of stoning in Iran. Her crime? Adultery. Evidence? None. Trials? Two (no double jeopardy protection there).

    Was the Stoning Carried Out?

    There have been no news reports since our post to confirm that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has indeed been executed. Last we knew, the Mullahs had reported that they were not going to respect any stays offered by other local authorities, and the stoning was said to occur within a 24 hour time frame.

    And by stoning, again we mean she will be buried in sand up to her chest and then stones - not too big and not too small - will be thrown at her until she dies. (They don't want her to die too quickly.)

    Where is Her Lawyer? He's Gone Missing.

    We don't know if Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is alive or dead right now. And, according to Amnesty International, we also don't know where her defense lawyer is. He's gone missing.

    Mohammad Mostafaei (shown above) was reported to have been interrogated at Evin prison in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday. Amnesty International believes he was released, asked to return, and never seen again.

    Mostafaei's Wife and Brother-in-Law Held Without a Lawyer

    Meanwhile, the defense lawyer's wife, Fereshteh Halimi, and his brother-in-law, Farhad Halimi, have been taken by authorities and held without legal counsel.

    Mostafaei Is Another Death Penalty Defense Lawyer Who Blogs

    Interestingly, Mr. Mostafaei blogs. That's right. He blogs in Iran. And, apparently he posted something on his blog last Saturday after he left the prison interrogation, as well as updating his Facebook account. On Facebook, he predicted he would be arrested.

    Check out his blog (use Google Translate): looks like it's been shut down.

    Our prayers are with Mr. Mostafaei and his family -- and we are honored to count him as one of our brethren. Please help spread the word of this continuing injustice. To learn more about what you can do, visit theActivism Center at Amnesty International's website.
     
  6. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,977
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Is the Creator is so cruel and biased that he ordains such hateful treatment of His own creation? My common sense refuses to accept this simple logic... This is only possible if the creator is a Devil (Shaitan)... if this is how the Creator ordains then i bow my head in shame...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Before you bow your head in shame Aman ji, the Sikh view of the Creator is not consistent with this social ritual.

    That is why I always cringe when people try to argue that all gods are the same god. Sorry, not to me!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,977
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Activist: Iranian with stoning sentence tormented


    LONDON -- An Iranian woman whose sentence of death by stoning was lifted earlier this month says she's grateful for the international support she's received, but remains heartbroken at the separation from her children and tormented by the fear she could still be executed, a rights activist said Friday.

    Iranian officials have said Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will be spared stoning, which in Iran involves being buried from the chest down and pelted with rocks. The announcement came after international outrage over plans to execute the mother of two for adultery - an offense her supporters say she confessed to under duress.


    Germany-based activist Mina Ahadi, who helped publicize the case, said Friday that Ashtiani remains locked up in Tabriz prison in northwestern Iran and could still be hanged. Many others on Iran's death row still face the prospect of being stoned, Ahadi said.


    "You're talking about the Middle Ages," she told journalists in London, speaking through a translator. "Stoning is a form of terrorism."


    Ahadi read out a message from Ashtiani in which she spoke of her shock at the sentence and said that "part of my heart is frozen."


    "The day they sentenced me to stoning, it was as if I fell into the bottom of a well, and I lost consciousness," the message read. "Many nights before going to sleep I think: 'Who can think of throwing a stone against me, and crushing my face and hands?
    "From Tabriz prison, I thank all of you. Tell everyone I am afraid of dying."


    Ahadi said Ashtiani had dictated the message over the phone from prison during the past week. Ahadi did not provide further details.


    Ashtiani, who is in her early 40s, was first convicted in May 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men following the death of her husband and sentenced to 99 lashes.


    Later the same year, she was also convicted of adultery.


    A translated court document handed out to journalists appears to show that judges were divided about Ashtiani's guilt. The minority opinion held that she was being tried twice for the same crime, and that in any case there was no proof she cheated on her husband.


    "Prosecution in this case has no legal justification as no positive religious or legal evidence can be found," the minority opinion read, according to the document. "The above-named is believed to be innocent of the charge."


    But the majority ruled that Ashtiani's "severely corrupt mind," as well as other evidence, pointed to the crime of adultery, and she was sentenced to death by stoning.



    Ashtiani's appeal failed, and she has been sitting on death row since.She might have died in obscurity had it not been for the efforts of her tech-savvy attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei. Shortly after he published a blog post saying he feared his client would be executed imminently, the image of Ashtiani's face - framed in a black chador - spread across newspaper front pages, television bulletins and the Internet. Celebrities including Robert Redford, Emma Thompson and Colin Firth put their names behind a campaign to release her, while the United States and Britain also demanded Ashtiani's sentence be lifted.


    Such a punishment would "disgust and appall the watching world," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, while Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised to raise the issue with Tehran.

    Faced with a growing international outcry, the Iranian Embassy in London issued a statement saying Ashtiani would not be executed by stoning, although the announcement still left a question mark over her fate.


    On Saturday, authorities called Mostafaei, her lawyer, in for questioning. He was released, but has since disappeared and is thought to be in hiding. Ashtiani's son, Sajad, has also had his cell phone blocked in an effort to prevent him from speaking about the case, Ahadi said.


    Amnesty International Iran researcher Ann Harrison said about a dozen people are still thought to face death by stoning in Iran. Ahadi said Friday she believed the number could be twice as high.


    The phone rang unanswered at the Iranian Embassy in London Friday.

    http://www.sunherald.com/2010/07/30/2370858_p2/activist-iranian-with-stoning.html#ixzz0vGc77Rg2
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page