Stoning Iran

Stone Unturned

Iran Says Now That
Ashtiani Is NOT Free

JUST IN: Iran did it again. Provoking outrage around the world, its state-run TV station announced today that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has not been freed, despite footage made available yesterday, depicting her and son at home. The station said it was all part of a program to be broadcast tonight, that all but endorses the official version portraying her as a murderer. The announcement:
“Contrary to a vast publicity campaign by western media that confessed murderer Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been released, a team of broadcast production team with the Iran-based Press TV has arranged with Iran’s judicial authorities to follow Ashtiani to her house to produce a visual recount of the crime at the murder scene.”
In other words, the international vigil and watch for Sakineh’s life will continue.

The Iranian state-run TV station showed footage last night of Sakineh Muhammad Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning, apparently free at home with her son Sajad.
Sakineh appears on the undated footage saying that she “planned to kill” her husband, Iran’s main accusation against her.
So far, the state prosecution hasn’t offered any details under which she was released or whether her sentence was commuted or she was pardoned for good.
Human rights activists expressed joy for her freedom but could not offer independent confirmation of her current and future legal status. Her release comes after an intense international campaign against the lack of transparency of her criminal process and death sentencing.
Sakineh was twice condemned to die by separate courts over the murder of her husband. A sentence of hanging was commuted to 10 years in jail by an appeal court in 2007.
But a second sentence, to death by stoning on charges of adultery in several relationships, including the man convicted of her husband’s murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.
The news of Ms Ashtiani’s possible reprieve came a day after another woman sentenced to death, Khadijeh Jahed, was hanged at dawn in jail with her son pushing the stool from beneath her feet.

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Read Also:
* Stoning Iran
* Stoning Sentence

***

Sakineh Is Shown Again on

Iranian TV Admitting Guilt

JUST IN: In what looked like another staged guilty “confession,” Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was shown on the Iranian state TV, along with her son and lawyer. The highly suspicious broadcast was blurry and no identification of the faces of the three could be positively established. What looks like another farce follows a Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki declaration a few weeks ago that “the authorities of justice had not pronounced the final verdict in the affair concerning Sakineh.” That meant either Iran was once again backpedaling on its intention to hang her, or just trying to divert the world’s attention to her fate, as it did many times in the past, according to human rights activists. They vowed then, as now, to keep up the public vigil to prevent the issue from falling through the cracks and allowing Iran the undisturbed opportunity it’s apparently seeking to carry on Ashtiani’s death sentence.

Once again, the world’s bracing itself breathlessly in the face of horrible news that the Iranian state is ready to kill Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani very soon.  And once again, a global mobilization is apace to prevent this crime from happening. Human rights organizations are urging Iran’s authorities to free Ashtiani, who stands accused of a murder to which no proof has been provided by the prosecution.
Ashtiani was initially sentenced to death by stoning, a medieval form of capital punishment only Iran and a few other authoritarian regimes still carry. Faced with a huge wave of public outcry, the Iranian state commuted her sentence to death by hanging, insisting the 43-year old mother of two murdered her husband with a relative it said she was having an illicit affair. The proof for these charges have never been produced publicly and they wouldn’t be even considered by the strict but fair standards of international law, which obviously, Iran does not recognize.
It’s not the first time word comes out that Ashtiani’s death is imminent. It’s another form of terror she’s been subjected to in these four years she’s being persecuted and then sent to solitary confinement, along with beatings, coercion to confess the crimes, isolation from her family, twice staged public confessions to the state-run TV network and who knows what other forms of indignant public humiliation she’s been subjected to by Iran. The regime led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by Ayatollahs and the fanatical enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, is determined to break her spirit and show the world it’s above any reproach of its crooked judicial system.
Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, has fled the country long ago, fearing for his own life, and his family has been harassed and threatened by paramilitary forces acting undercover on behalf of the government. She’s now been represented by a court-appointed defender, of whom no one expects any meaningful gesture to prevent her death. Her drama unfolds against the background of Iran’s all out effort to develop nuclear weapons, regardless of the countless sanctions the U.S., UN and a number of countries imposed on the nation. After a highly suspicious reelection last year, Ahmadinejad, who’s said to be under pressure also from the Islamic Council that rules the country, has given maximum priority to the feared nuclear program that, once able, may raise the threat of a large scale conflict in the region, according to its neighbor and archenemy Israel.
Read below an account of Colltales coverage of the unbelievably cruel plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, as it played out in the news, starting by the most recent.

Iran’s decision to officially commute  the stoning sentence of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to hanging was not a surprise but reawakened fears from the international community following her plight that the country is just waiting to the holy Ramadan month to end to send her to death.
She’d already being sentenced to an additional 99 lashes in prison, allegedly for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper. The claim, which could no be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years. Human rights activists fear that Iran is trying to come up with fresh excuses to chastise Ashtiani, to divert the attention off the case and be able to carry on with her death sentence.
The latest initiative to help free Ashtiani is being spearheaded by a group of intellectuals, human rights activists and media publications, who’re sending her daily open letters of support. After she was shown on state-run TV visibly shaken, “confessing” her “crimes,” there was widespread fear that her execution could be imminent. Speaking in her native Azeri language, she said then she was an accomplice to her husband’s murder and had an extramarital relationship with his cousin. Her lawyer, though, said she was tortured for two days before the broadcast was recorded in Tabriz prison, where she has been held for the past four years.

Still, Iran hasn’t officially replied to Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s safe haven offer in Brazil for Ashtiani, a 43-year old mother of two who Iran sentenced to death by stoning and later had her sentence commuted to hanging. But people who’re following closely the case doubt it’ll ever materialize. Instead, the Iranian Ambassador to Norway, Mohammad Hosseini, told a Brazilian newspaper recently that the offer “doesn’t make sense” because Ashtiani is already sentenced to death. Only her husband’s family, he said, can save her now, offering to pardon her. Otherwise, the state won’t have any choice but hang her, he concluded.

So it seems that unfortunately, the fate of Ashtiani, who had almost no chance to be reunited briefly with her family, is hanging by a thread. Despite an international campaign demanding her freedom, the regime presided by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by Ayatollahs and the strict enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, so far, has shown no inkling that it’ll do the right thing. The murder charge is completely unfounded, according to human rights organizations, but it has been repeated by the state-run TV which has broadcast a report trying to link her campaigners to “the west and Israel.”

At a news conference in London last month, the International Committee Against Stoning presented a document showing Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery, for which she has already received 99 lashes. Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled the country and is now exiled in Norway, to where he expects to bring his family, who’re being harassed by pro-government paramilitary forces. So, despite the global outcry, her prospects are not very encouraging. During that conference, the ICAS also mentioned another Iranian woman whose original sentence to stoning was commuted to hanging this week. But since 25-year old Marian Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant, activists fear that she’s been subjected to physical hardship to force her to miscarry. According to Iran’s twisted idea of justice, only if she loses her baby she can be sent to death.
Along with Neda Agha-Soltan, a young student who was shot by pro-regime paramilitary forces during rallies protesting last year’s suspicious landslide reelection of Ahmadinejad, Ashianti and now Ghorbanzadeh have become the target of Iran’s iron-fisted repression of its independent-minded women.
This is the same president who wants to be in charge of nuclear warheads, and who took the time to lecture what he calls the west nations for paying too much attention to an octopus during the World Cup (if you have to ask, never mind…).
Mr. Arhmadinejad, if it’s up to peace-loving, justice-fighting and law-abiding citizens of this world, you’ll never get what you want the most, which is more power, let alone the lives of Ashianti, Ghorbanzadeh, 19-year old Azar Bagheri and many others like them. For we all know that you already have in your hands young Neda’s blood. So this time, heed to the world’s thunderous demand and keep them off these women.

***

Ashtiani Might Be Hanged

Wednesday, Activists Fear

Once again, the world’s bracing itself breathlessly in the face of horrible news that the Iranian state is ready to kill Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani as soon as Wednesday. And once again, a global mobilization is apace to prevent this crime from happening. Human rights organizations are urging Iran’s authorities to free Ashtiani, who stands accused of a murder to which no proof has been provided by the prosecution.
Ashtiani was initially sentenced to death by stoning, a medieval form of capital punishment only Iran and a few other authoritarian regimes still carry. Faced with a huge wave of public outcry, the Iranian state commuted her sentence to death by hanging, insisting the 43-year old mother of two murdered her husband with a relative it said she was having an illicit affair. The proof for these charges have never been produced publicly and they wouldn’t be even considered by the strict but fair standards of international law, which obviously, Iran does not recognize.
It’s not the first time word comes out that Ashtiani’s death is imminent. It’s another form of terror she’s been subjected to in these four years she’s being persecuted and then sent to solitary confinement, along with beatings, coercion to confess the crimes, isolation from her family, twice staged public confessions to the state-run TV network and who knows what other forms of indignant public humiliation she’s been subjected to by Iran. The regime led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by Ayatollahs and the fanatical enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, is determined to break her spirit and show the world it’s above any reproach of its crooked judicial system.
Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, has fled the country long ago, fearing for his own life, and his family has been harassed and threatened by paramilitary forces acting undercover on behalf of the government. She’s now been represented by a court-appointed defender, of whom no one expects any meaningful gesture to prevent her death. Her drama unfolds against the background of Iran’s all out effort to develop nuclear weapons, regardless of the countless sanctions the U.S., UN and a number of countries imposed on the nation. After a highly suspicious reelection last year, Ahmadinejad, who’s said to be under pressure also from the Islamic Council that rules the country, has given maximum priority to the feared nuclear program that, once able, may raise the threat of a large scale conflict in the region, according to its neighbor and archenemy Israel.
Read below an account of Colltales coverage of the unbelievably cruel plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, as it played out in the news, starting by the most recent.

Iran’s decision to officially commute the stoning sentence of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to hanging was not a surprise but reawakened fears from the international community following her plight that the country is just waiting to the holy Ramadan month to end to send her to death.
She’d already being sentenced to an additional 99 lashes in prison, allegedly for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper. The claim, which could no be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years. Human rights activists fear that Iran is trying to come up with fresh excuses to chastise Ashtiani, to divert the attention off the case and be able to carry on with her death sentence.
The latest initiative to help free Ashtiani is being spearheaded by a group of intellectuals, human rights activists and media publications, who’re sending her daily open letters of support. After she was shown on state-run TV visibly shaken, “confessing” her “crimes,” there was widespread fear that her execution could be imminent. Speaking in her native Azeri language, she said then she was an accomplice to her husband’s murder and had an extramarital relationship with his cousin. Her lawyer, though, said she was tortured for two days before the broadcast was recorded in Tabriz prison, where she has been held for the past four years.

Still, Iran hasn’t officially replied to Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s safe haven offer in Brazil for Ashtiani, a 43-year old mother of two who Iran sentenced to death by stoning and later had her sentence commuted to hanging. But people who’re following closely the case doubt it’ll ever materialize. Instead, the Iranian Ambassador to Norway, Mohammad Hosseini, told a Brazilian newspaper recently that the offer “doesn’t make sense” because Ashtiani is already sentenced to death. Only her husband’s family, he said, can save her now, offering to pardon her. Otherwise, the state won’t have any choice but hang her, he concluded.

So it seems that unfortunately, the fate of Ashtiani, who had almost no chance to be reunited briefly with her family, is hanging by a thread. Despite an international campaign demanding her freedom, the regime presided by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by Ayatollahs and the strict enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, so far, has shown no inkling that it’ll do the right thing. The murder charge is completely unfounded, according to human rights organizations, but it has been repeated by the state-run TV which has broadcast a report trying to link her campaigners to “the west and Israel.”

At a news conference in London last month, the International Committee Against Stoning presented a document showing Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery, for which she has already received 99 lashes. Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled the country and is now exiled in Norway, to where he expects to bring his family, who’re being harassed by pro-government paramilitary forces. So, despite the global outcry, her prospects are not very encouraging. During that conference, the ICAS also mentioned another Iranian woman whose original sentence to stoning was commuted to hanging this week. But since 25-year old Marian Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant, activists fear that she’s been subjected to physical hardship to force her to miscarry. According to Iran’s twisted idea of justice, only if she loses her baby she can be sent to death.
Along with Neda Agha-Soltan, a young student who was shot by pro-regime paramilitary forces during rallies protesting last year’s suspicious landslide reelection of Ahmadinejad, Ashianti and now Ghorbanzadeh have become the target of Iran’s iron-fisted repression of its independent-minded women.
This is the same president who wants to be in charge of nuclear warheads, and who took the time to lecture what he calls the west nations for paying too much attention to an octopus during the World Cup (if you have to ask, never mind…).
Mr. Arhmadinejad, if it’s up to peace-loving, justice-fighting and law-abiding citizens of this world, you’ll never get what you want the most, which is more power, let alone the lives of Ashianti, Ghorbanzadeh, 19-year old Azar Bagheri and many others like them. For we all know that you already have in your hands young Neda’s blood. So this time, heed to the world’s thunderous demand and keep them off these women.

***

Ashtiani Might Be Flogged

Again Over Unproven Claims

JUST IN: Iran have reportedly sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to 99 lashes in prison for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper. The claim, which could not be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years. Human rights activists fear that Iran is trying to come up with fresh excuses to chastise Ashtiani, to divert the attention off the case and be able to carry on with her death sentence.
The latest initiative to help free Ashtiani is being spearheaded by a group of intellectuals, human rights activists and media publications,  who’re sending her daily open letters of support. After she was shown on state-run TV visibly shaken, “confessing” her “crimes,” there was widespread fear that her execution could be imminent. Speaking in her native Azeri language, she said then she was an accomplice to her husband’s murder and had an extramarital relationship with his cousin. Her lawyer, though, said she was tortured for two days before the broadcast was recorded in Tabriz prison, where she has been held for the past four years.

Still, Iran hasn’t officially replied to Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s safe haven offer in Brazil for Ashtiani, a 43-year old mother of two who Iran sentenced to death by stoning and later had her sentence commuted to hanging. But people who’re following closely the case doubt it’ll ever materialize. Instead, the Iranian Ambassador to Norway, Mohammad Hosseini, told a Brazilian newspaper recently that the offer “doesn’t make sense” because Ashtiani is already sentenced to death. Only her husband’s family, he said, can save her now, offering to pardon her. Otherwise, the state won’t have any choice but hang her, he concluded.

So it seems that unfortunately, the fate of Ashtiani, who had almost no chance to be reunited briefly with her family, is hanging by a thread. Despite an international campaign demanding her freedom, the regime presided by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by Ayatollahs and the strict enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, so far, has shown no inkling that it’ll do the right thing. The murder charge is completely unfounded, according to human rights organizations, but it has been repeated by the state-run TV which has broadcast a report trying to link her campaigners to “the west and Israel.”

At a news conference in London last week, the International Committee Against Stoning presented a document showing Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery, for which she has already received 99 lashes. Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled the country and is now exiled in Norway, to where he expects to bring his family, who’re being harassed by pro-government paramilitary forces. So, despite the global outcry, her prospects are not very encouraging. During that conference, the ICAS also mentioned another Iranian woman whose original sentence to stoning was commuted to hanging this week. But since 25-year old Marian Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant, activists fear that she’s been subjected to physical hardship to force her to miscarry. According to Iran’s twisted idea of justice, only if she loses her baby she can be sent to death.
Along with Neda Agha-Soltan, a young student who was shot by pro-regime paramilitary forces during rallies protesting last year’s suspicious landslide reelection of Ahmadinejad, Ashianti and now Ghorbanzadeh have become the target of Iran’s iron-fisted repression of its independent-minded women.
This is the same president who wants to be in charge of nuclear warheads, and who took the time to lecture what he calls the west nations for paying too much attention to an octopus during the World Cup (if you have to ask, never mind…).
Mr. Arhmadinejad, if it’s up to peace-loving, justice-fighting and law-abiding citizens of this world, you’ll never get what you want the most, which is more power, let alone the lives of Ashianti, Ghorbanzadeh, 19-year old Azar Bagheri and many others like them. For we all know that you already have in your hands young Neda’s blood. So this time, heed to the world’s thunderous demand and keep them off these women.

***

Iranian Women Sentenced to
Death Count on Your Support

Iran hasn’t officially replied to Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s safe haven offer in Brazil for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year old mother of two who Iran sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery, and later had her sentence commuted to hanging. But people who’re following closely the case doubt it’ll ever materialize. Instead, the Iranian Ambassador to Norway, Mohammad Hosseini, told a Brazilian newspaper that the offer “doesn’t make sense” because Ashtiani is sentenced to death. Only her husband’s family, he said, can save her now, offering to pardon her. Otherwise, the state won’t have any choice but hang her, he concluded.

So it seems that unfortunately, Ashtiani, who reunited briefly with her family last week, is running out of time. Despite an international campaign demanding her freedom, the regime presided by Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by the Ayatollahs and the strict enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, so far, has shown no inkling that it’ll do the right thing. The murder charge is completely unfounded, according to human rights organizations, but it has been repeated by the state-run TV which has broadcast a report trying to link her campaigners to “the west and Israel.”

At a news conference in London last week, the International Committee Against Stoning presented a document showing Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery, for which she has already received 99 lashes. Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled the country and is now exiled in Norway, to where he expects to bring his family, who’re being harassed by pro-government paramilitary forces. So, despite the global outcry, her prospects are not very encouraging. During that conference, the ICAS also mentioned another Iranian woman whose original sentence to stoning was commuted to hanging this week. But since 25-year old Marian Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant, activists fear that she’s been subjected to physical hardship to force her to miscarry. According to Iran’s twisted idea of justice, only if she loses her baby she can be sent to death.
Along with Neda Agha-Soltan, a young student who was shot by pro-regime paramilitary forces during rallies protesting last year’s suspicious landslide reelection of Ahmadinejad, Ashianti and now Ghorbanzadeh have become the target of Iran’s iron-fisted repression of its independent-minded women.
This is the same president who wants to be in charge of nuclear warheads, and who took the time to lecture what he calls the west nations for paying too much attention to an octopus during the World Cup (if you have to ask, never mind…).
Mr. Arhmadinejad, if it’s up to peace-loving, justice-fighting and law-abiding citizens of this world, you’ll never get what you want the most, which is more power, let alone the lives of Ashianti, Ghorbanzadeh, 19-year old Azar Bagheri and many others like them. For we all know that you already have in your hands young Neda’s blood. So this time, heed to the world’s thunderous demand and keep them off these women.

***

(First Version)

Iranian Women Sentenced to
Death Count on Your Support

JUST IN: Brazilian President Lula da Silva has offered safe haven in Brazil to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year old mother of two who Iran sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery, and later had her sentence commuted to hanging. The announcement, made during a presidential campaign rally for the candidate of Lula’s party, comes as Brazil has been building closer relations with the Iranian regime and has interceded for the maintenance of its nuclear ambitions, in a challenge to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other UN’s security council country members.

Ashtiani reunited with her family this week. But despite an international campaign demanding her freedom, the regime presided by Ahmadinejad, but ruled de facto by the Ayatollahs and the strict enforcement of the Islamic Shariah law, so far, has shown no inkling that it’ll do the right thing. After weeks of media blackout, the state-run TV broadcast a report trying to link her campaigners to “the west and Israel”,

and accused them of calling for the release of someone convicted of murder. At a news conference in London, the International Committee Against Stoning presented a document showing Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery, for which she has already received 99 lashes.
Even her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, who’s volunteering his services, had to go into hiding, but came out once his family was threatened by the regime. So, despite the global outcry, her prospects are not very encouraging.
During the conference, the ICAS also mentioned another Iranian woman whose original sentence to stoning was commuted to hanging this week. But since 25-year old Marian Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant, activists fear that she’s been subjected to physical hardship to force her to miscarry. According to Iran’s twisted idea of justice, only if she loses her baby she can be sent to death.
Along with Neda Agha-Soltan, a young student who was shot by pro-regime paramilitary forces during rallies protesting last year’s suspicious landslide reelection of Ahmadinejad, Ashianti and now Ghorbanzadeh have become the target of Iran’s iron-fisted repression of its independent-minded women.
This is the same president who wants to be in charge of nuclear warheads, and who, also this week, took the time to lecture what he calls the west nations for paying too much attention to an octopus during the World Cup (if you have to ask, never mind…).
Mr. Arhmadinejad, if it’s up to peace-loving, justice-fighting and law-abiding citizens of this world, you’ll never get what you want the most, which is more power, let alone the lives of Ashianti, Ghorbanzadeh, 19-year old Azar Bagheri and many others like them. For we all know that you already have in your hands young Neda’s blood. So this time, heed to the world’s thunderous demand and keep them off these women.

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