Monday, June 28, 2010

Please help stop the stoning death of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani

URGENT ALERT: IRAN
June 2010

Call on the Government of Iran to stop the imminent execution of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani sentenced to death by stoning

Equality Now is deeply concerned about Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Information received by Equality Now suggests that Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery with two men. The verdict is final and could be implemented at any time according to credible sources. Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani is said to have been in jail in Tabriz for the past five years. She was initially sentenced to 99 lashes on 15 May 2006 by a court in the city if Osku in the North West Iranian province of East Azerbaijan for the lesser crime of having “illicit relations” with the two men, in other words, engaging in conduct that did not constitute sexual intercourse. However, on 10 September 2006 her case was taken up again by a different court, the Sixth Branch of the Penal Court of East Azerbaijan Province, where the charge of adultery was brought against her.

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani denied the charge and, as far as Equality Now is aware, no relevant evidence was admitted against her. She was convicted solely on the basis of the judge’s opinion that she had committed adultery and was sentenced to death by stoning.

TAKE ACTION!

Iranian law indicates that a second charge on the same offence of which a person has already been convicted may not be brought. In this case Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani has already been lashed for the offence of having illicit relations. We have been informed that two of the five councilors appointed by the court stated that in their opinion there was no legal proof for the charge of adultery.

Stoning to death violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party. The ICCPR clearly prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. It also limits the imposition of the death penalty “only for the most serious crimes.” The United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee have determined that a wide range of specific offences fall outside the scope of the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed and this includes adultery.

Recommended Actions

Please write to the Iranian officials below calling for Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s immediate release, the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning and the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, such as flogging and stoning in accordance with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR. Urge the officials also to initiate a comprehensive review of the Civil and Penal Codes of Iran to remove all provisions that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law. TAKE ACTION!

His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani
Head of the Judiciary
Vali Asr Avenue, above the intersection Pasteur,
Azizi Street 2, No. 4,
Office of Public Relations and Judicial Procedures
Tehran
Iran
Email: info@dadiran.ir

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country. The following link may help you find the contact information: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Iran

In the United States please contact:
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
(Housed in the Embassy of Pakistan)
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 965-4990, (202) 965-4992, (202) 965-4993, (202) 965-4994, (202) 965-4999
Fax: (202) 965-1073
Email: requests@daftar.org

In the United Kingdom please contact:
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince's Gate
London SW7 1PT
Phone: 0207 225 3000
Fax: 0207 589 4440
Email: info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Sample letter:

Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani
Head of the Judiciary
Vali Asr Avenue, above the intersection Pasteur, Azizi Street 2, No. 4,
Office of Public Relations and Judicial Procedures
Tehran
Iran


[Date]



Your Excellency

I am writing to you about Sekineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, a charge she denies. Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to 99 lashes for having “illicit relations” on 15 May 2006 and has already served five years in prison in Tabriz . The Sixth Branch of the Penal Court of East Azerbaijan Province took up her case again in September 2006 and charged and convicted her for adultery despite the lack of credible evidence against her.

It is my understanding that under Iranian law a second charge relating to an offence of which a person has already been convicted may not be brought. In the case at hand, Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani has already been convicted and punished on the same set of facts.

I respectfully ask that you do all you can to ensure that the punishment of stoning against Ms Mohammadi-Ashtiani is immediately rescinded in accordance with Iran’s law that a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice. I note that women are disproportionately convicted for adultery and fornication in Iran and I urge you also to work for the removal of all provisions in the Iranian legal codes that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women including those regarding adultery and fornication. This would be in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law and its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

​Respectfully yours




Please keep Equality Now updated on your efforts and send copies of any replies you receive to info@equalitynow.org




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