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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Iran

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Campaign to Stop Stoning

July 30, 2010 - 3:03 PM | by: Amy Kellogg

Human rights campaigners fighting to reverse a stoning sentence meted out to Iranian woman Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, held a press conference in London on Friday.

According to the International Campaign Against Stoning and their contacts in Iran, regime authorities are now going after Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei.  They are holding his wife and brother-in-law in prison until he turns himself in.

The campaign group says it will not let up.  Maryam Namazie said,

“The fact that she is still alive today is testimony to this campaign and the fact that pressure does work but we’re not going to be completely celebrating until Sakineh’s stoning sentence has been rescinded and she’s free to go back to her children.”

Ashtiani was sentenced for allegedly having extramarital affairs with two men.  She was tried for but acquitted of murdering her husband, but sentenced for adultery.

Peter Tatchell, a human rights activist said, “What is so difficult to comprehend is that in the 21st century Iran is proposing to stone a woman to death for a consenting relationship with another adult.”

At the press conference, Mina Ahadi of the International Campaign Against Stoning read out a letter she said came from Ashtiani in prison.  It talked about how crushed she was when she was flogged in jail before her son.  (This is something that was carried out before the stoning sentence came down).  And how when she heard the stoning sentence delivered, she fainted.  Now Ashtiani says she falls asleep each night wondering who could think of throwing stones at her.

The campaign to save Ashtiani has taken to the streets around the world.

Iran’s Embassy in London claims her sentence was suspended, saying, “according to information from the relevant judicial authorities in Iran, she will not be executed by stoning punishment.”

But human rights campaigners say the judgement is still in court records. 

Iranian state television recently ran a program calling this all a Western and Israeli campaign to discredit the Islamic Republic.

Mina Ahadi said, “The people of Iran don’t need a nuclear bomb.  We need a set of humanistic, progressive laws.” 

According to this group which says they cite Iranian records, 100 people have been stoned since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  And a few dozen have stoning sentences currently. 

According to the International Campaign Against Stoning, Mrs. Ashtiani’s two children were allowed to visit her a few days ago in prison in Tabriz.  They reportedly say her spirits are lifted by the attention her case has drawn.  But that she still lives in fear that one day suddenly her life could be taken.

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