Iran Lifts Stoning Sentence, But May Still Execute Ashtiani For Murder
We’ve been following the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to stoning for adultery who has attracted sympathy and outrage worldwide. After pressure, most lately, from France and the Catholic Church, the Iranian government first commuted the punishment from stoning to hanging, and have now announced that Ashtiani will not be executed for adultery at all.
This is an enormous victory, not least for the 20,000 Care2 members who signed our petition to stop Ashtiani’s execution. You are all part of a global effort to end human rights abuses like the fate that could have befallen Ashtiani, and you should be very proud.
However, sadly, this saga is not over. The Iranian government charged Ashtiani with what they claim is her role in the death of her husband, and these murder charges could result in life imprisonment or another death sentence. It’s unclear at this point what Ashtiani is actually guilty of, since the only evidence is a “confession” aired on Iranian state TV, an unreliable source at best.
Certainly, the murder charges seem like an attempt on the part of the Iranian government to move away from the adultery charges, and to instead portray Ashtiani as a killer. Ashtiani’s lawyers say that she only participated in the confession after being tortured in prison.
On Tuesday, the president of the European Commission described the death sentence as “barbaric beyond words.” The European Union Parliament also passed a resolution declaring that a punishment like stoning “can never be justified or accepted,”
The number of public figures who have spoken out on Ashtiani’s behalf continues to grow, and if you haven’t signed the petition to save her life, we encourage you to do so.
Photo from the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty website - http://stopstonningnow.com/savesakine.html