A last-minute effort to stop stoning of Iranian woman

Sandy Smith's picture

An Iranian mother of two will be stoned to death in Iran for a crime she may not have committed unless human rights activists succeed at generating last-minute opposition to the stoning.

The woman, Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, was convicted of adultery in 2006. She confessed to the crime after being subjected to 99 lashes, but retracted her confession later and has since denied wrongdoing. She has asked for clemency from the Iranian courts, but has been rebuffed.

The case contained irregularities that call the verdict into question, activists point out. Human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei pointed out that Ashtiani, a woman of Azeri descent from the northern city of Tabriz, may not have understood the proceedings, as she speaks Turkish, not Farsi. In addition, the case appears to have violated Article 74 of the Iranian penal code, which requires at least four witnesses -- either four men or three men and two women -- for an adulterer to receive a stoning sentence. There were no witnesses in Ashtiani's case.

But as the Iranian Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 2007, Ashtiani has no legal recourse. Veteran Iranian human rights activist Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty, told CNN, "Legally it's all over. 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."

Death by stoning involves burying the person to be executed up to his or her neck, then hurling large stones at the head. The stones are large enough to cause serious pain, but do not produce immediate death. According to Amnesty International, women make up a disproportionate number of those sentenced to death by stoning, accounting for a sizable majority of all such cases. Amnesty has called on Iranian officials to immediately call a halt to all executions, commute all death sentences, and move towards repeal of its death penalty laws. Amnesty reports 126 persons had been executed in Iran from January 1 to June 6 of this year.

Ahadi said that Iranian clerics have historically been sensitive to world opinion in matters like this. "Experience shows [that] ... when the pressure gets very high, the Islamic government starts to say something different."

The U.S. State Department has also criticized the stoning, saying it raises questions of serious human rights violations in Iran.

Written by Sandy Smith
For HULIQ.com

Comments

Submitted by matt vaccaro (not verified) on
maybe if we had more of our own biblicle punishment we might not have so much moral degeneration here in america

Submitted by JoAnn (not verified) on
For a country that bases so much on their faith, how does that same country stand behind such cruelty or maintain that such an act follows or displays their belief. If an animal was to be treated in this way, it would immediatley be considered to be cruelty. Guilty or not, worse crimes have been committed. Executing this MOTHER is furthering a crime and forever affecting two young and developing lives!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I just saw a movie a couple of weeks ago about a woman being stoned to death on an accusation of adultery.Her husband was whorish and he wanted a young girl. He coercied a widower in the village to allow her to cook and clean for him and his son and she did so. But after a short time he forced the widower to say that she had "been" with him. Therefore her sentence was to be stoned to death. After the stoning he was not allowed to marry the young girl. But this was the first time I had ever seen a woman being stoned and it changed my perception of what these women go through on a daily basis. It was so shocking that at times I had to stop the movie because it was so horrific in nature. My heart goes out to this woman, because she did not receive a fair trial and she did not even speak the language. So where is justice? I hope that all of those men who participate in the stoning are burned eternally.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Everyone please pray for this woman--GOD, is the only answer--b ecause they do not believe like we in a Christian nation do---So our hands are tied to help this woman--But GOD is not limited in his power---PRAY_PRAY_PRAY

Submitted by brent (not verified) on
Im all for a peoples culture being honored but this is so biblical 99 lashes and then a stoning....sounds like some politics have been thrown in for good measure....once again its a woman commiting adultery by herself.........come on in this day and age. If there is ever an indictment on a whole culture this evil fruit condemns the tree..how is it they cannot see themselves for what they are the world needs to hold a mirror up to these people,,,,her plight must be broadcasted to the world dare i mention the resident super hero in the white house should be notified if he isnt to tied up with saving the world economy and the gulf ecosystem and providing jobs and industries for millions.

Submitted by Frank Haas (not verified) on
At this point in time it doesn't matter if she commited the crime of adultry or not. What matters is she received 99 lashes then confessed. That is called cohersion. She was made to confess against her will. The Iranian court has overlooked their own rules of conduct. The woman should be released immediately to go free.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Too bad we can't put all the Gerald's here over there. Going to pray like i have never prayed before for this woman.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
This story made me stomach turn, and my heart break. No one should sit back and do nothing about this. If you can't do anything else....pray! Pray for this woman, her children, her family. This is not how God would handle this situation. Remember the woman at the well?!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
This is the most barbaric practice I've ever heard of. What religion would put anyone to death much less death in this sadistic fashion. I'm not surprised it's the Muslim faith that's doing this, they seem bent on violence and evil. This woman should be spared.

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