Having just written about defiance in Iran in my last entry, I have to mention a case where resistance and action are urgently needed. Sakineh Ashtiani’s life is still in danger today, despite massive global outcry. We all need to raise our voices to stop her killing and inhumane treatment.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, is held on death row in Tabriz Prison, northwest Iran. She was accused of adultery and condemned to being stoned to death. The Iranian government had to revoke the sentence after her children generated a worldwide outcry against the farcical trial -- she could not speak the language used in court, and the alleged incidents of adultery took place after her husband's death.
Then her lawyer was forced into exile, and the prosecution came up with a new charge for which she would be executed -- the murder of her husband. Despite this being double jeopardy, as she was already serving time for alleged complicity in this crime, Sakineh was tortured and paraded on national television to 'confess', and was found guilty. Since then the regime has arrested two German journalists, her lawyer and her son, who has bravely led the international campaign to save his mother. All remain in prison and Sakineh's son and lawyer have been also tortured and have no access to lawyers.
Following international protests, in July the Iranian embassy in London announced that she would not be stoned to death, but she could still be executed by hanging. An execution order has apparently been delivered to her last week, so her execution might be imminent.
In Brazil, Turkey, France, the UK and US, high profile politicians including presidents have urged Iran not to execute her. Now, foreign ministers in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland have followed suit and called on Tehran to commute her death sentence.
Amnesty International is also calling for the release of Ashtiani's lawyer and son, indicating that they have been seized solely because they were willing to release pertinent information.