Sunday, 11 July 2010

Iran - Save Sakineh

Two days ago, an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was saved by global protests from being stoned to death.

But she may still be hanged -- and, meanwhile, execution by stoning continues. Right now fifteen more people are on death row awaiting stoning in which victims are buried up to their necks in the ground and then large rocks are thrown at their heads.

The partial reprieve of Sakineh, triggered by the call from her children for international pressure to save her life, has shown that if enough people come together and voice their horror, we may be able to save her life, and perhaps even stop the practice of stoning.

Sakineh was convicted of adultery, like all the other 12 women and one of the men awaiting stoning. But her children and lawyer say she is innocent and that she did not get a fair trial -- they state her confession was forced from her and, speaking only Azerbaijani, she did not understand what was being asked of her in court.

Despite Iran's signing of a UN convention that requires the death penalty only be used for the "most serious crimes" and despite the Iranian Parliament passing a law banning stoning last year, stoning for adultery continues.

Sakineh's lawyer says the Iranian government "is afraid of Iranian public reaction and international attention" to the stoning cases. And after Turkey and Britain's Foreign Ministers spoke out against Sakineh's sentence, it was suspended.

Sakineh's brave children are leading the international campaign to save their mother and stop stoning.  Massive international condemnation now could finally stop this barbaric punishment. Avaaz, the global online advocacy community,  is calling people across the world to join in and sign their petition to save Sakineh and end stoning. Sign the petition here.

For more information, read: "Iranians still facing death by stoning despite 'reprieve' " in The Guardian and the AFP report

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