UPDATE: Iran Stoning Case Gets Worse – Ashtiani Convicted of Murder, Attorney in Hiding

UPDATE: A glimmer of hope for Ashtiani comes from Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with an offer of asylum in his country for the condemned woman.

Ashtiani son’s Sajad is hopeful with the country’s unexpected offer. “No countries in the world can have such impacts that Brazil and Turkey can have on Iran now. These two countries can save my mother’s life,” said Sajad.

When making his announcement at a rally in southern Brazil Lulu added, “I find myself imagining what would happen if one day there was a country in the world that would stone a man because he was cheating. Nothing justifies the state taking someone’s life. Only God gives life and only He should take it away.”

It is unclear at this time what Iran will do with this offer, but Ahadi of the Iran Committee against Stoning says the move “will change the way Iran sees Sakineh’s (Ashtiani’s) case,” and has urged the country to use its influence to lobby for the release of at least 12 other women awaiting execution by stoning.

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Like the international community, over at Care2 we have been following the tragic story of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for allegedly committing adultery – very closely.

It wasn’t long ago that our very own Judy Molland delivered some bright news in the case – Ashtiani  had been rescued from her stoning sentence – but since then Iran’s judiciary has changed her sentence to execution by hanging because they now say she committed murder.

Documents detailing the stoning sentence, however, make it clear that Ashitani was convicted of adultery – a crime she only admitted to after receiving 99 lashes, a crime she later retracted completely.

New details, however, reveal that after the lashings her case was reopened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted of murder by the court soon after and the adultery charges were reinstated. After review the death penalty sentence was handed down for adultery – not murder.

So why are the murder charges coming up again?

Mina Ahadi, of the Iran Committee against Stoning (ICAS), has the following insight: “In adultery cases, women are sentenced because of the complaints from their husbands or families generally, but surprisingly, Sakineh (Ashtiani) is sentenced to death by stoning not because the family of her husband have made a complaint against her, but because the Tabriz prosecutor has made a complaint. In other words, it’s the authorities in Iran who want Sakineh (Ashtiani) to be stoned to death.”

Or as the case is now execution by hanging.

How the judiciary is able to change Ashtiani’s conviction after all this time with no evidence is beyond me. It seems clear that as Ahadi says the authorities are the ones who want to punish Ashtiani – and will do so in with whatever means they can. In addition to the lashings she already received, recent reports from Ashtiani’s cellmate reveal that she has been tortured and severely beaten by several guards while in prison too.

As if this case couldn’t get any worse, Human rights attorney Mohammed Mostafaei, who up until recently represented Ashtiani, is believed to be in hiding now from officials as a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

His crime? Making Ashtiani’s incredibly unjust case too public. In fact, given the great international attention that the case has received local media have been banned from reporting on the case.

Mostafaei’s wife and brother-in-law have been arrested in his absence and have been told that they will not be released until Mostafaei presents himself. 

“Other attorneys have been arrested similarly when they have tried to advocate for certain people,” said Ahadi. “This is something the government of Iran has tried over and over again — to hush, using fear and intimidation tactics and also imprisoning anyone that they feel is threatening.”

Only time will tell what will happen to both Ashtiani and Mostafaei and his family but it is certain that the international community at large will be watching and waiting for justice.

If you haven’t done so already…TAKE ACTION: Bring an end to stoning as a form of punishment!


Photo copyright: Photo from the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty website - http://stopstonningnow.com/savesakine.html


PeasantDiva WorldMinga

Horrible, distressing proof of Islamic regime determination to punish participants in last June's disputed-election protests:

Guardian, 9/19/10 -http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/19/iranian-court-jails-human-rights-activist - Iranian court jails human rights activist & journalist, Shiva Nazar Ahari, for 6 YRS / 26-yr-old founder of Committee of HumanRightsReporters in Tehran, CONVICTED of 'moharebeh,' usually punishable by death; also convicted of plotting to commit crimes & agitating against ruling system- Fined £250 as substitute for 76 lashes..
Mr Sharif quoted as saying he's "shocked" to learn his client convicted of moharebeh, when "no legal basis for this charge against her" & plans to file appeal.
NY-based Committee to Protect Journalists: at least 52 journalists being held in Iranian jails.

Other female activists targeted since election. Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer who has represented arrested political activists&protesters, arrested & charged- "propaganda against the regime" & "acting against national security".

Husband said she'd been warned of arrest if she continued to represent Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel laureate & human rights activist who left Iran day before election.

Persian2English: 9/18/10 -- http://persian2english.com/?p=14502 -- Human Rights Activist Shiva Nazar Ahari Sentenced to 6 Yrs in Prison, 76 Lashes, & exile to Izzeh, province of Khuzestan.

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

16/Sept/2010 Reuters on France24 -- http://www.france24.com/en/20100916-police-raid-green-opposition-leader-office-mirhossein-mousavi-economic-problems-iran: "Police raid ‘Green’ opposition leader’s office - Iranian security agents raided the office of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on Thursday, taking computers and personal belongings, his website reported." ..skip... Earlier this month, opposition websites reported that members of the Basij militia loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei smashed windows and damaged security cameras at the home of another opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi Karoubi, injuring one of his bodyguards.

Sept 3, AFP on France24 - http://www.france24.com/en/20100903-militias-attack-opposition-leader-karroubi-home-eve-quds-rally-iran-basiji-revolutionary-guards -- Militias attack opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's home ahead of Quds rally: Islamist militiamen and elite Revolutionary Guards surrounded the home of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi to prevent him from joining a government-sponsored rally that last year saw opposition protests, his website said.

At the Quds (Jerusalem) Day Palestinian solidarity march in Tehran last year, supporters of Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi staged demonstrations against hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government.

"As of 8:00 am (0330 GMT) today, Basijis (militiamen) and Sepahi (Guards) gathered in front of Karroubi's home,"

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

Shiva Nazar-Ahari, imprisoned Iranian journalist & human rights advocate, in the news:

a photo of beautiful Shiva illustrates this article from the Main section of the Observer, Sunday 12 Sept, & is also on the Front Page of the Guardian Online, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/12/iran-women-fight-for-rights,

"Iran: women on the frontline of the fight for rights" -

From the mother sentenced to death by stoning (Sakineh) to the lawyer arrested for defending opposition activists, women are prominent symbols of Iran's struggle for democracy : Both Sakineh's case and Shiva's discussed in this article

Please Take Action: Iranian Shiva Nazar-Ahari, 26, Risks Death Penalty - Trial Opened & Closed Today (Saturday, September 4, 2010) - Not Yet Sentenced
http://www.care2.com/news/member/597720583/2289491 :

Journalist & human rights activist risks death penalty for Moharebeh- warring against God. 1st time in history journalists charged with this capital crime - a number of them so charged. Global Campaign "We Are All Shiva"- Amnesty, ReportersW/outBorders,..

suheyla c.
SĂĽheyla C8 years ago

Thank you for sharing with us.

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

There is a political prisoner in Iran whose plight should be on C2 Causes, as well. What can I do to get her here?

"Take Action: Iranian Shiva Nazar-Ahari, 26, Risks Death Penalty - Trial Opened & Closed Today," Saturday 4th Sept:

Journalist & human rights activist risks death penalty for Moharebeh- warring against God. This is the 1st time in history that journalists are being charged with this capital crime - a number of them are so charged. Join the Global Campaign "We Are All Shiva"- ReportersW/outBorders, Persian2English, Amnesty,...

Amnesty reports: "Shiva Nazar Ahari, member of the Iranian organization 'the Committee of Human Rights Reporters' (CHRR), has been detained since 20 December 2009, in solitary confinement for much of the time. In February 2010, she told her family by phone that she had been placed in a "cage-like" solitary confinement cell where she could not move her arms and legs. She has had only limited access to her family. She is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association"

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

Comment Cut Off -- "Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Has Been Sentenced to Another 99 Lashes," Press Release 61, Sept 3rd: http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/3628

Links don't come out here!! Repubblica's photo gallery of the August 30 Paris mobilization in support of Sakineh: 15 pics http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2010/08/28/foto/sakineh_1_milione_di_persone_in_piazza_a_parigi-6575388/1/

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

Saturday August 30 was the day worldwide demonstrations to save Sakineh were scheduled, the '100 World Cities' mobilization organized by the International Committee Against Stoning. Here in Paris only 200-300 people came to Trocadero esplanade, across from the Eiffel Tower, but we heard some great speeches - from people such as Marek Halter, the Polish-born French novelist, & Yamina Benguigui, Paris Deputy for Human Rights to the Mayor. Few were independents, like me; most belonged to 1 of 3 NGOs who called out members.
There were a lot of photojournalists, for ex from AP, who took closeups of the pictures I'd downloaded from the ICAS site & glued to cardboard. We were surprised to discover my companion included in the Italian daily the Repubblica's photo gallery of the Paris rally

Everyday, newspapers in France are now publishing the latest letters to Sakineh written by VIPs (actors, politicians) on a petition launched by philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. Former Presidents Jacques Chirac & Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, for ex.

Now the latest news from Iran :Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Has Been Sentenced to Another 99 Lashes, according to the International Committee Against Stoning: Press Release 61, Sept

PeasantDiva WorldMinga

Since this piece was written, Iran has refused Brazil's offer of safe haven for Sakineh -- twice, in fact, for good measure. A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry described Lula da Silva’s offer of asylum “a Western conspiracy to interfere in international relations of countries.” The Iranian authorities quickly redefined her crime as murder, in an apparent effort to legitimize their case against her, according to the NYTimes. It was at this point that they televised the 'murder confession' of a woman purported to be Sakineh.

Alison A.
Alison A8 years ago

Petition already signed, thanks for posting.

Judi Pittonet
Judi Pittonet8 years ago

poor woman, stoning is barraric!!!