An Iranian woman at a protest in Brussels highlights the barbarity of death by stoning

This is a good article from The Guardian on stoning:

Stoning takes place in the darker recesses of life in Iran, in rural provinces where the population is more conservative and where there are no media. It is rarely practised in public and often the victim of this savage form of capital punishment is disowned by their children on the grounds that the offence – adultery or homosexuality – stains the family honour. This newspaper revealed a week ago that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman convicted of conducting an “illicit relationship outside marriage”, faced imminent death by stoning in Tabriz. Today we name 15 others facing the same fate. What made Sakineh’s case unusual is that her son Sajad and daughter Farideh were courageous enough to speak up publicly against it.

It is not just the fact that Sakineh has already been in prison for five years and endured a sentence of 99 lashes for an offence there is no evidence that she committed, and that the death sentence was a sham. It was handed down on the basis of “judge’s knowledge”, a loophole that allows rulings where there are no witnesses or conclusive evidence. Furthermore, the judgment was not unanimous. Two of the five judges dissented, which means that under Iranian law that she should not have been sentenced to death.

The death itself is unimaginably cruel: men are buried to the waist and, if they wriggle free during the stoning, the death sentence is commuted, but women are buried up to the neck, for fear that their breasts may be uncovered. Watching men hurl stones – big enough to injure but small enough to delay the death – at a defenceless woman is so repugnant that it cannot be shown to a wider Iranian audience and reports of stonings are censored. But nor can it be dismissed as the local custom in remote villages, if the sanction itself is contained in Iran’s penal code and if the Guardian Council has remained silent on the issue. Parliament itself voted a year ago to strike out the clause, but nothing has happened.

Unlike other facets of Iranian life, where world opinion has no leverage, the Islamic Republic is embarrassed by the international attention stonings attract. Publicity makes a difference. Last night the Iranian embassy in London, citing information from judicial authorities, said that the stoning of Sakineh would not go ahead, but would not say what would now happen to her. No mention was made of the fate awaiting the 12 other women and three men on death row. The lesson of this tale is that Iran, which is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, must be challenged on each and every occasion when stoning is threatened until it is forced to strike the punishment from its penal code.

There are some aspects in the above article which need to be challenged and the very first person to write to the Guardian with the following did indeed do so:

Stoning takes place in the darker recesses of life in Iran, in rural provinces where the population is more conservative and where there are no media. It is rarely practised in public and often the victim of this savage form of capital punishment is disowned by their children on the grounds that the offence – adultery or homosexuality – stains the family honour.

Sorry but how can anything carried out by the State following a public trial possibly be called part of the darker recesses of life? It is done openly, or was until fairly recently. They have to get the people to throw the stones from somewhere after all. Hard to do if it is not public.

Nor is it carried out just in rural areas where the population is more conservative. This sentence was handed down in Tabriz – a major city. It used to be the capital and the second largest city in Iran until the White Revolution. Even now it is the fourth largest city in Iran. Nor is the population poor and backward.

It is not carried out where there is no media. It is carried out under a total ban on the media reporting it. The Iranian Government does not like people to see what it does – even its own people. And of course they claim they have banned the punishment and it does not take place any more. So they have some issues with the real world, obviously.

All of these may make some Guardian readers feel better about Iran and its Hudud punishments, but this is not an aberration. It is a Sharia-approved Hudud punishment. Of the sort of a lot of friends of some people around here approve and want. Of the sort that the late Lebanese Ayatollah that I saw was praised the other day as a liberal wanted for Lebanon. No one should fool themselves about this. This is not a marginal thing carried out by backward hicks that the majority of Iranians do not know about. This is central to the Islamist project that so appalls ordinary Iranians it has to be hidden from them

(end of comment)

The reader above makes a very valid point: Why would some readers of the Guardian, and elsewhere, want to be made to feel better about the issue of Sharia Law, which is what this is all about.

4international is vitally interested in the fate of this courageous woman and we shall continue this research.


Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, Iranian Mother,

could be put to death at any moment

Breaking News 

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43 year old mother of two, was convicted in May 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men and received 99 lashes as her sentence. Despite already having been punished, she has now been further convicted of “adultery” and she and sentenced to death by stoning.

She is currently being held on death row in Tabriz Prison, north-west Iran, and faces imminent execution. Around July 7th , following international protests, officials in Tabriz asked the head of Iran’s judiciary to agree that her sentence of stoning to death be converted to execution by hanging.

On 10 July, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights said that her case would be reviewed, although he affirmed that Iranian law permits execution by stoning.

On 14 July Sajjad Qaderzadeh, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son, was summoned to Tabriz’s Central Prison, and is believed to have been questioned by Ministry of Intelligence officials who possibly threatened him not to give further interviews about his mother’s case.

It is clear Sakineh remains ingrave risk… PLEASE sign this petition which calls on the Iranian authorities to clarify her current legal status, demands that the authorities enact legislation that bans stoning as a legal punishment, and eliminates other forms of the death penalty for “adultery” such as fogging or imprisonment.

The Power of Voices
From 1982 to 1984, I was a teenage political prisoner in Evin Prison in Tehran. I was tortured and raped and watched my friends suffer and many of them die. So many innocent young lives devastated or lost. But the world went on, as if nothing had happened. We felt abandoned and forgotten in Evin.

On Thursday morning, March 25, 2010, a beautiful sunny day, I stood in Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland and looked on a narrow road sandwiched between two rows of redbrick, two-storey buildings. Unlike the flimsy wooden barracks I had seen in other camps, these were well built and looked quite sturdy. Many tour buses were parked in the parking lot, and there were tourists from all ages and nationalities everywhere. I was on a trip organized by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies. Birds sang in the pale sun, and the clear voice of our young tour guide, Anna, who was knowledgeable and professional, streamed through my headset — but I wasn’t listening. The bricks of Auschwitz were almost identical in colour to those of Evin. I reached out and touched them, and tears blinded me. We had just seen piles of thousands of the shoes of the victims of Auschwitz, and I remembered that in Evin, guards had taken away my white and red Puma running shoes and had given me rubber slippers instead. Where were my shoes and the ones of my prison friends? Had they been destroyed? We entered a barrack, and I looked into a bright, average-sized room with a wooden table in the middle and a few chairs around it. Anna explained that this room was used for arbitrary trials, and most of the prisoners tried here were sentenced to death and executed in the courtyard behind the building. In Evin prison, the Sharia judge who had condemned me to death had probably sat in a similar room and drank tea as he passed on verdicts. My survival was a miracle, but not everyone was as lucky as I was.

Iran’s political prisons, including Evin, are still quite operational. People are tortured and executed in Iran on a daily basis. When atrocities happen, those who remain silent and don’t speak or act against evil become its accomplices. We cannot afford to wait for governments to bring about real change. I believe in the power of the individual. Each one of us can make the world a better place, even if only one small step at a time. We can create a ripple effect that will expand and eventually turn into a tsunami.

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani has been condemned to death in Iran. There are many others who are languishing like her in their grave-like cells, maybe facing painful deaths. They are not alone or forgotten. Even if we don’t know all their names, we are with them. I do not believe in violence, but I do believe in the power of voices coming together as one. Let’s get our voices heard.

Marina Nemat is the author of “Prisoner of Tehran.” Her second memoir, “After Tehran,” will be released this September.

Plea to the world by Sakineh’s Children
Do not allow our nightmare become a reality, Protest against our mother’s stoning! Today we stretch out our hands to the people of the whole world. It is now five years that we have lived in fear and in horror, deprived of motherly love. Is the world so cruel that it can watch this catastrophe and do nothing about it?

We are Sakine Mohammadi e Ashtiani’s children, Fasride and Sajjad Mohamamadi e Ashtiani. Since our childhood we have been acquainted with the pain of knowing that our mother is imprisoned and awaiting a catastrophe. To tell the truth, the term “stoning” is so horrific that we try never to use it. We instead say our mother is in danger, she might be killed, and she deserves everyone’s help.

Today, when nearly all options have reached dead-ends, and our mother’s lawyer says that she is in a dangerous situation, we resort to you. We resort to the people of the world, no matter who you are and where in the world you live. We resort to you, people of Iran, all of you who have experienced the pain and anguish of the horror of losing a loved one.

Please help our mother return home!

We especially stretch our hand out to the Iranians living abroad. Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother. We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear…

Help to save our mother. Write to and ask officials to free her. Tell them that she doesn’t have a civil complainant and has not done any wrong. Our mother should not be killed. Is there any one hearing this and rushing to our assistance?

Faride and Sajjad Mohammadi e Ashtiani

The above is from the excellent website devoted to saving this wonderful woman who is in such grave peril because of the Fascist thugs who rule in Iran
Please visit their website
Free Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban

Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban arrested in Tabriz for Facebook Activities.

28 year old Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban was arrested on July 18, 2010 in Tabriz. There is no news on her condition and she is not permitted to contact her family.

Security forces in Tabriz entered Sharareh’s home and, after searching the area and confiscating her personal items like her computer and phone, they arrested her at 6:00am on July 18, 2010.

She was taken to a detention centre run by the Tabriz Ministry of Intelligence. Later, she was transferred to Evin prison.

Her charges include “insulting what is sacred” and “having contacts with a foreign entity”. It is believed that her charges are related to her Facebook membership and activities.

Sharareh Farshi Shotorban has no history of political activism.


بازداشت یک زن در تبریز به خاطر فعالیت‌های‌اش در فیسبوک | رهانا

هانیه فرشی شتربان، شهروند تبریز از حدود ۱۰ روز قبل بازداشت شده و از وضعیت وی خبری در دست نیست.

خبرگزاری حقوق بشر ایران – رهانا

ماموران امنیتی در تاریخ یک‌شنبه ۲۷ تیر ماه ۱۳۸۹ در ساعت شش صبح به منزل هانیه فرشی شتربان وارد شده و وی را بازداشت می‌کنند.

به گزارش رهانا، ماموران امنیتی بعد از تفتیش منزل وی بازداشت کرده و کامپیوتر، تلفن و وسائیل شخصی وی را ضبط می‌کنند. وی در ابتدا به بازداشتگاه اطلاعات تبریز منتقل شده و سپس به زندان اوین منتقل می‌شود.

به این شهروند تبریزی اتهاماتی چون «اهانت به مقدسات، ارتباط با بیگانه» زده‌اند که گفته می‌شود بر مبنای فیسبوک ایشان است. از وضعیت وی در حال حاضر اطلاعاتی در دست نیست و اجازه تماس با وی به خانواده‌اش داده نمی‌شود.

خانم فرشی ۲۸ ساله و تنها یک مادر مسن دارد و سابقه هیچ‌گونه فعالیت سیاسی نداشته است.

پایان پیام

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate release of Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban from prison.

28 year old Sharareh has no history of political activism. She is being punished with detention in Evin prison for simply using Facebook, like millions of others users around the world.

Despite this, government authorities have accused Sharareh of “insulting what is sacred” and “having contacts with a foreign entity”.

Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban was arrested on July 18, 2010 in Tabriz. There is no news on her condition and she is not permitted to contact her family.

We need urgent action to be taken by all international and government organizations to draw attention to the outrageous and illegal behaviors of Iranian regime officials.

Free Hanieh “Sharareh” Farshi Shotorban now!



What does it mean when a mob of men, numbering anywhere from 50 to 200, stone a female child to death—as happened in October of 2008 in Somalia? That poor soul was not only a 13 year-old child—she had also just been raped. Indeed, that was her sole “crime” and the reason for her torture-execution. She was forced into a hole and buried nearly up to her neck. She took a long time to die and kept crying out for her life. In addition to the 50 active stoners, 1000 more men cheered them on.


That the girl was revived once then put back in the hole for the final round
Now that level of cruelty is of great interest and importance, because I believe that there is definitely a link there to the pathological hatred which Ahmadinejad has shown towards Israel, to their frantic and determined effort to get the Nuclear Bomb, AND WOULD THEY USE IT AGAINST ISRAEL?
It is along those lines that we will be moving with this essay. More tomorrow on this

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