Update: Mixed reports from Iran – one claiming that it will not stone Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to death, another that the sentence still stands but is under review, another that she will not be stoned but faces death by hanging – have come out since CWA joined the international outcry. What is known is that Ashtiani remains in prison where she has been since 2006; she has been flogged with 99 lashes for adultery based, she says, on a coerced confession which she has retracted.
Iran’s brutal Islamic regime must release Ashtiani. The U.S. State Department and the U.N. need to do their jobs and shame Iran into releasing her and halting this inhumane practice. Fifteen other Iranians reportedly also face stoning death sentences.
Washington, D.C. – Iran is once again showing the world its unfair and horrific mistreatment of women. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, has been in an Iranian jail for four years after being convicted of adultery in 2006 and is sentenced to be stoned to death at any time. Sakineh claims that her conviction was based on her being forced to confess to the adultery charge, after which she was flogged with 99 lashes of a whip. She has since retracted her confession.
Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, said, “Like many other Americans, my family took 10 minutes on July 4th to read the Declaration of Independence. Of particular relevance is the section where America’s founders wrote, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Those who doubt American exceptionalism need only to look at the case of Sakineh Mahammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian mother of two.
“It’s difficult to imagine a supposedly civilized nation stoning its citizens in the year 2010, but unfortunately, human rights and the rights of women are virtually non-existent in Iran today. The barbaric practice of stoning is outrageous and should be ceased immediately, and the life of Sakineh should be spared. I call upon Iranian officials to hear the outcry of CWA’s half a million members who abhor this inhuman practice and plea for the life of this woman.”
Sakineh’s lawyer says that the conviction was a “sham.” Judges under Islamic law have a legal loophole called “judicial knowledge,” which means they can make decisions based on personal feelings rather than be required to have actual evidence.
Iran supposedly outlawed stoning in 2002, but human rights activists and Amnesty International claim that stonings continue, even though their exact number is unknown. Under Sharia law, Sakineh will be buried up to her chest and stones will be hurled at her head.
Nance continued, “Concerned Women for America joined recently with prominent women leaders to denounce Iran’s election to a four-year term on the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. Sakineh’s sham trial and unjust sentence to death by stoning is the perfect example of why Iran does not deserve that appointment. The U.N. should immediately remove them from the commission.”
“One last question,” says Nance. “What happened to the man with whom Sakineh is accused of having an affair?”
Please write to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ask her to use every possible means to avert this tragic miscarriage of justice.