We wrote many posts last summer about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was convicted of adultery and sentenced to stoning. Over the months, the verdict changed from stoning to hanging, her lawyer was forced to flee to Norway, the Iranian government released Ashtiani’s “confession,” and the Brazilian government offered Ashtiani asylum. Now, she reportedly will serve 10 years in prison in a triumphant conclusion to many attempts to save her life.
According to Amnesty International, Iran executes more people every year than any country except China, and another NGO claims that Iran is on an “execution binge,” with an average of one person hanged every 8 hours since the beginning of the year.
“The Iranian Judiciary is on an execution binge orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies,” explained Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The Ashtiani case, however, was an example of the positive effect that international attention can have. Politicians, religious institutions and celebrities alike spoke out on her behalf, including Carla Bruni, the singer and French first lady, who the Iranian media then called a prostitute, and the immense amount of pressure on the Iranian government to rescind the brutal sentence clearly had an impact.
We’ll keep you posted on Ashtiani’s fate, but for now, it’s heartening to know that efforts like these can work, although it certainly won’t save every person who is unjustly sentenced to death in Iran or even in the United States.
For now, though, Care2 readers can be happy to know that their work, along with the help of many others, seems to have made a difference!
Photo from the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty website - http://stopstonningnow.com/savesakine.html