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UFV 2010

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani: guilty or acquitted?


The case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, has called the media attention all over the world. Unlike many other stoning cases before, where the woman considered guilty of adultery is abandoned by her family, Sakineh’s children started a strong defense of their mother, by launching a campaign for her release. Her 22-year-old son, Sajad, who was the first to write an open letter asking for international help, has been asked by Iranian officials not to use his mobile phone and not to talk to media. Since then he’s been frequently questioned by the Iranian intelligence service about other people’s names. At the same time Iran imposed a media blackout over female executions in the country, prohibiting newspapers, agencies and TV Channels of reporting any news about Mohammadi Ashtiani’s case.

The Guardian, a famous London newspaper, says that Sakineh has been under big pressure, having been asked to advise her children to remain silent; otherwise they would be arrested too. On the other hand, an acclaimed lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, volunteered to represent Sakineh in court, as he heard her story. According to him, “her fate’s certainly unclear.” Iran’s judiciary system has said that Sakineh faces death penalty “because she is accused not only of adultery but also of murdering her husband.” However, due to international press, the Iranian court could choose hanging instead of stoning.

A campaign website, “freesakineh.org,” has collected more than 120,000 signatures; therefore a strong pressure of the world’s media would be the only hope for Sakineh’s release.

(From The Guardian. Available at: http://www.stop-stoning.org. Retrieved on: Aug. 17, 2010. Adapted.)


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