Press Release 6
For Immediate Release
8 July 2011
According to a recent report received by the International Committee against Stoning, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani remains in Tabriz Central Prison. Ashtiani and her family, namely her son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, are not permitted to have contact with International media outlets.
After arresting her son, Sajjad, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, the Islamic Republic of Iran exerted pressure on them and aired a programme on the state-run Press TV in which Ashtiani was forced to ‘describe’ her role in her husband’s death. Ashtiani and her son were under the impression that they would be released after the airing of the film. This was not the case and Ashtiani remains in prison and her situation remains uncertain.
The International Committee against Stoning has received reports from within the prison that Ashtiani has attempted suicide as a result of the pressures exerted on her. Last month, Mousa Khalil Elahi, Prosecutor of Tabriz, said that Sakineh was given regular visitation rights with her family, was healthy and well and that her case has not changed and would take its legal course. He said reports published by the International Committee against Stoning stating the contrary were untrue.
Clearly, Sakineh Mohammadi Asthiani is being hostage by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The authorities have stated that they will not review her file. The regime hopes for protests to die down so it can go ahead and ‘punish’ her. The danger of death by stoning still hangs over her head.
Moreover, we have received reports that Ashtiani’s lawyer, Houtan Kian, has received a four and a half year sentence. It has been said that Houtan has lost 20 kilos (44 pounds) in weight as a result of his serious mistreatment and torture in prison. He is also diabetic and has high blood pressure. Initially it was reported that he had been sentenced to eleven years in prison. Then they announced that he was to be sentenced to death for allegedly having two identity cards and for his left-leaning activities. After Houtan Kian sent out a letter from prison about his situation and asked for public support, there were widespread international protests against the sentence, after which the latest news being that the court in Tabriz has sentenced Houtan Kian to four and a half years in prison.
The International Committee against Stoning reiterates its call for citizens of the world to protest against these unjust rulings, and demand an end to stoning and the immediate release of Sakineh, Houtan Kian and others waiting stoning sentences. Stoning is absolute barbarity and must be banned immediately and everywhere.
According to Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of the International Committee against Stoning, ‘Stoning is a crime and an act of terror against women. We indict the Islamic Republic of Iran for its crimes against humanity.’
Today, Sakineh has become a symbol against stoning and of protest against the Islamic regime of Iran. Once more on 11 July, the International Day against Stoning, we will bring global attention to the barbaric practice of stoning.
The campaign to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has brought the world out in opposition to the brutal Islamic regime in Iran. Civilised humanity has spoken out loud and clear. Enough is enough. We will not allow anyone else, for whatever excuse, to be stoned anywhere in the world again.
Not one more!