On Sakine Mohahammadi Ashtiani’s flogging for the second time

PR 62
Sep 5, 2010

On Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s flogging for the second time

The news of Sakineh Ashtiani’s recent lashing sentence as punishment for spreading corruption and prostitution” because an unveiled photo of her – which turned out to be of another individual – was published in the London Times on August 28, 2010, stirred media attention and invoked international outrage against this barbaric act by the Islamic Republic. However, the person who leaked the alleged photo of Sakineh to The Times is “strongly” denying the new flogging sentencing for Sakineh, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s judicial system. We, of course, strongly wish to believe that Sakineh’s new sentence is not true, but the evidence provided indicates otherwise. So the following details should be noted:

1) The accuracy of this new sentence has been confirmed by both Sakineh’s’ son, Sajjad, and her attorney Mr. Houtan Kian during their interviews with various media outlets.
2) As we reported before, the Islamic Republic has prohibited any visits to Sakineh for the past two weeks. Her children and her attorney have not been allowed to see her or talk to her over the phone. This in itself could be an indication that the barbaric regime in Iran wanted to cover up the flogging of Sakineh based on a false allegation.
3) It was precisely because Sakineh was denied any visits or contacts that her children and Mr. Kian had to find out about the flogging sentence through two of Sakineh’s former cellmates, who were released recently. The news has also later been confirmed by other sources, such as the prison workers.
4) One of the reasons Sakineh’s former attorney has mentioned for denying that this sentence has been issued is that there is no legal basis within the Islamic Republic’s judicial system for this punishment. First of all, let’s not forget that lawlessness rules in the Islamic Republic’s judicial system where the rule of law is based on terror, cruelty and crimes against humanity, especially against women. Secondly, based on the information we have received, Sakineh Mohammadi was sentenced to a second round of 99 lashes based on the Prison’s interior disciplinary regulations and this sentencing was not part of her ongoing and current case, a practice that regularly happens in prisons.

Finally, we would like to point out that Sakineh is still being imprisoned by the Islamic Republic, that her stoning sentence formally stands, that her execution sentence has been passed to the ‘Implementation Department’, that it was only on Saturday, August 28th, that she was subjected to a sick hoax by being told to prepare for execution the next day, and that it has been almost two weeks that we have not had any news about her. It is under these circumstances that we received the news about the second round of flogging, 99 lashes, from her current attorney and her children. We should not allow the statements of those who unfortunately try to appear in the role of prosecutors for and supporters of the Islamic Republic to undermine the worldwide human campaign to save Sakineh and others like her caught in the prisons of the Islamic Republic.

International Committee Against Stoning
International Committee Against Execution

(Translated from Farsi by Kathy Montazem)

Do you wish to financially support the cause? Please make your donation at:
http://countmein-iran.com/donate.html
Your contribution, however small, is essential to help move the campaign to save Sakineh forward.

Italy rises to Sakineh’s defence

PR 59
Sep 1, 2010

On Wednesday 1st September, a large poster of Sakineh was hung from a building in the centre of Rome. The Italian government has also hung a large image of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani from the offices of the ‘Ministry of Equal Rights’ and has exhorted the Iranian government to cancel Sakineh’s execution.

Today, 1st of September, almost all branches of the Italian media carried news about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. In Venice, following the annual film festival, a demonstration has been organised to protest against the sentence to execute and stone Sakineh. Tomorrow, Thursday, there will be a major protest in front of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s embassy in Rome against stoning and in defence of Sakineh.

Italy’s foreign minister has written against this sentence on his website and has asked people to join the protests. In the last ten days, 86,528 signatures have been collected in Italy for the defence and freedom of Sakineh. Tomorrow’s protest is organised by the green party and other left-wing parties and it is anticipated that many people will join this demonstration. The Italian authorities want to be seen as strong supporters of Sakineh’s rights and there is talk of their going further than France in her defence.

In Florence, a large image of Sakineh has been hung from the entrance of the town council. It is expected that other cities will follow their example.

The International Committee against Stoning and Execution invites everybody, regardless of their nationality, to join this great, world-wide movement to save Sakineh, to prohibit stoning and execution, and oppose the Islamic government.

International Committee against Stoning
International Committee against Execution

1st September 2010

Translation: Susan Azadeh

Do you want to help financing the cause? Please make your donation at:
http://countmein-iran.com/donate.html
Your contribution how ever “small” is essential to further progress of the campaign “save Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani”

UAF: We are waiting for your response!

We sent this letter off to United Against Fascism on July 8. You think they could have responded by now?

Dear Sir/Madam

The One Law for All Campaign was launched on 10 December 2008, International Human Rights Day, to call on the UK Government to recognise that Sharia and religious courts are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular and that citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable. The Campaign aims to end Sharia and all religious courts on the basis that they work against, and not for, equality and human rights.

As you may be aware, on Sunday 20th June 2010 One Law For All held a Rally opposite Downing Street opposing Sharia law and religious laws in favour of all citizens being treated equally, and secular separation of religion and state (the best proven guarantee of religious pluralism). A counter demonstration was organised by a group calling themselves Muslims Against Crusades (MAC), who declared that one day Britain would be governed wholly by Sharia law.

Some members of the English Defence League (EDL) attempted to hold their own rally in response to the presence of MAC, but were arrested for not having permission to assemble.

During the rally, a large group of teenage boys carrying Unite Against Fascism (UAF) placards marched past Downing Street escorted by the police. We understand they marched from the UAF event in Whitechapel. When they reached the MAC they joined the chants of ‘Allahu Akbar!’.

I’m writing to invite you to clarify Unite Against Fascism’s position on Sharia law.

I look forward to a response.

Adam Barnett
Research Coordinator
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

Protest the Pope!

One Law for All Protest the Pope
7 September 2010

One Law for All is adding its support to Protest the Pope. Spokesperson, Maryam Namazie, will be speaking at the 18 September march and rally beginning at Hyde Park Corner at 1.30pm (www.protest-the-pope.org.uk).

One Law for All’s opposition to Sharia courts and religion’s adverse role in public life necessitates a criticism of the Pope and Vatican. Whilst the Pope is free to travel to meet his supporters, he cannot be free from criticism, particularly given that his visit is a state one and because of his and the Vatican’s regressive policies. Amongst other things, the Pope and Vatican are opposed to equal rights for women and homosexuals as well as condom distribution to AIDS-ravaged societies in Africa. They have refused to address many thousands of cases of child sex abuse and torture, deliberately perverting the course of justice in these cases, and moving predatory priests from location to location giving them the opportunity to re-offend. Moreover, the Vatican encourages the de-secularisation of societies around the world, attempting to directly influence law-makers and impose religious dogma, whilst offering a direct and powerful endorsement of other non-secular and medieval laws, including Sharia.

Public funds must not be used for the Pope’s estimated £20 million visit to spread his homophobia, misogyny and inhumanity. This is nothing short of scandalous when his visit comes at a time when public spending and wages are being cut or frozen so dramatically.

The Pope and Vatican represent a threat to secularism and human rights worldwide. One Law for All urges its supporters to join the 18 September protest against religious bigotry and in defence of equality, universal rights and secularism.

BBC’s misinformed and unbalanced debate on Stoning in Iran

I was meant to speak on BBC Sunday Live’s debate today on whether it was right to condemn the regime for Sakineh’s stoning.

In the live debate, they managed to interview Suhaib Hassan from the Islamic Sharia Council defending stoning and someone from Tehran saying she faces execution for murdering her husband but somehow there was no time in the debate for me.

Even the presenter, Susanna Reid, said stonings were rare and that none had taken place since the 2002 moratorium! In fact 17 people have been stoned since the moratorium; also there are court documents provided by her lawyer specifying her stoning sentence for adultery. BBC had all this information. Without providing evidence to the contrary, BBC Sunday Live took as fact the regime’s pronouncements on her case. They failed to mention that the man charged with her husband’s murder is not being executed and that the trumped up murder charges are an attempt by the regime to silence the public outcry and kill Sakineh. As Sakineh herself has said: “they think they can do anything to women.”

The crux of the debate is this – of course it is right to condemn the regime. It has nothing to do with imposing ‘western’ values or imperialism. It’s a matter of choice really. Do you choose the regime’s values or that of Sakineh and her son’s who are fighting to keep her alive.

BBC Sunday Live has clearly made its choice. And the millions worldwide, including in Iran, who won’t stop fighting to save her life have made ours.

We will not stop till we end stoning and save Sakineh.

To see the debate, click here. If you are unhappy at the way the debate went, please contact the programme and ask for a balanced view on the issue:

Sunday Morning Live
Blackstaff,39-43 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EE
T: 028 9033 8379 M: 07875001606
anna.phipps@bbc.co.uk
lindsey.hammond@bbc.co.uk

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Sentenced to Another 99 Lashes!

PR 61

According to an open letter published today, September 3rd, by Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, son of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, under the pretext of the publication in the London Times of a photo of a woman without Islamic hijab, Sakineh has been sentenced to 99 lashes on charges of spreading corruption and indecency.

On August 28, The Times mistakenly published a front page photo of a woman without Islamic hijab and attributed the image as that of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. However, the photo was actually of another woman, Mrs. Susan Hejrat, a political activist living in Sweden. The photo of Mrs. Hejrat had been published earlier on a website along with her article about Sakineh.

As soon as we became aware of the distribution of this picture by the London Times, and subsequently in the Aftonbladet newspaper in Sweden, we informed those publications that this picture in fact was not Sakineh. These papers have apologized to Susan Hejrat. The London Times, in its September 3rd issue, while correcting this mistake, also apologized to their readers for the error. They noted that this picture was obtained from Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei. The London Times also wrote that Mr. Mostafaei has claimed to have received the picture from Sajjad. Obviously this claim has no basis in fact whatsoever; furthermore, Sajjad has denied Mostafaei’s claim in his letter. It is Mr. Mostafaei’s responsibility to provide an explanation as to why he has disseminated counterfeit photo and information regarding Sakineh’s case; his action has only led to increased pressure on Sakineh and her family.

We strongly condemn this barbaric new sentence of 99 lashes imposed by the Islamic Republic against Sakineh and we demand that this sentence be abandoned immediately.

We take this opportunity to ask the media to be more meticulous in their reporting on this case.
For the purposes of informing the public, we provide below the full text of Sajjad’s letter of September 3, 2010.

International Committee against Stoning
International Committee against Execution
September 3, 2010

Open Letter 2 from Sajjad Ghaderzadeh

Greetings.

Regarding the latest developments in the case of my mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, I, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, inform you of the following:

1. On August 25, 2010, our lawyer visited Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. At his urging, the court requested the original files on our mother’s case from Tabriz; as the case has now been referred to the Supreme Court for review, Tabriz no longer has jurisdiction in the case. For unknown reasons, Branch 9 has also requested the files concerning my father’s murder; however, the original files on his murder case have disappeared from Branch 7 in Tabriz, and the copies, which had been on file with the Homicide Unit of the Oskou Police Department, are also missing. This has led to a suspension of the proceedings in her case. I conclude this part of my letter with gratitude to human rights defenders and I wish them success in their sacred cause.

2. Subsequent to the August 20, 2010 London Times interview with our lawyer, Mr. Javid Houtan Kian, he sent the Times a photo of my mother taken when she worked at Arghavan Day Care Center in the city of Oskou. The picture was supposed to have been published the following day in the London Times; due to lack of access to the publication, there was no way for us to know otherwise. For unknown reasons, the London Times published a picture of another woman without hijab instead of our mother’s picture. We do not know how that picture was originally obtained, nor to whom the picture belongs.

As we have not been able to meet our mother since her television interview, according to information coming from those released from the women’s ward last night, the publication of this picture has given the prison authorities an excuse to increase their harassment of our mother. My mother has been called in to see the judge in charge of prison misdemeanors and he has sentenced our helpless mother to 99 lashes on false charges of spreading corruption and indecency by disseminating this picture of a woman presumed to be her [Sakineh] without hijab.

Later, through conversations with informed people outside Iran, I was told that the above-referenced picture, which was published instead of our mother’s picture, had been provided to the Times by our mother’s former lawyer (Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei), who I nevertheless thank for all of his contributions. I wish that this were not true and that they were mistaken.

I would like to clarify that our mother’s court-appointed lawyers, Mr. Sohrab Samangan and Mr. Zaré, could not defend her and on the contrary paved the way for the stoning sentence and then contributed to this cruel sentence being upheld. Due to their incompetence, we approached Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei and he agreed to defend our mother both on an individual basis and as a member of a team of lawyers after having received a heavy sum of 20 million rials. According to undoubtable documents, this sum was paid to a woman lawyer sent by Mr. Mostafaei.

As he did not make any effective legal or judicial efforts to save our mother’s life, and did not take advantage of existing legal avenues, according to the document sent on 30th Khordad 1389, Mr.Mostafaei was dismissed by my mother. Unfortunately, we still hear about his deeds and commentary, which suggests his unintentional collusion with those who are bloodthirsty within the system. Although I still hope that what we hear is not correct, but, today, I announce to all advocates of human rights worldwide that honorable Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei only for a short while, and via a woman lawyer, had the responsibility of the defense of our mother in her stoning case, and this case is separate from my father’s murder case. This means that he [Mr.Mostafaei] could not have been aware of files [of my father's case], their contents and subject, their dates nor the responsible branch, in order to make any comment about them.

Here we renew our gratitude and thankfulness to Mr. Mostafaei and humbly beg him not to make any further comments regarding our mother’s file or our father’s murder case to any authority or entity that is not confirmed by us.

Best wishes,
Sajjad Ghaderzadeh

Mina Ahadi
International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
Email: minaahadi@aol.com
Tel: 0049 (0) 1775692413
http://notonemoreexecution.org

http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is Held Incommunicado

PR 60

According to news sent to the International Committees against Execution and Stoning, responsible parties within Tabriz prison have told Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani that she is not allowed visits with her children or her lawyer.

Today, as last week, Sakineh’s children have not been allowed to visit their mother. Prison authorities have informed them that their mother is no longer allowed to have contact with the outside world.

According to other received news, Mr. Houtan Kian, Mrs. Ashtiani’s lawyer, is also under increasingly intense pressure.

The International Committees against Execution and Stoning condemn this attitude of the Islamic Republic and call upon the people of the world to increase their efforts to free Sakineh. Every reaction by the Islamic Republic bears a sign of the savagery of this regime, indicates the inhuman judiciary system, indicates that people of Iran are utterly bereft of their rights, and at the same time indicates the weakness and desperation of this regime in the face of increasing international pressure.

International Committee against Stoning
International Committee against Execution

September 2, 2010

(Translated by MFI)