Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, said she thinks of nothing other than hugging her children and that she was mentally broken when authorities flogged her 99 times in front of her then 17-year-old son, Sajad.
She thanked the world for launching the campaign for her release but said part of her “heart is frozen”. “Every night before I go to sleep, I think who would throw stones at me?”, she said.
The message was read by Mina Ahadi, of the Iran Committee against Stoning (ICAS), at a press conference in Conway Hall, in London, this morning .
“Put Sakineh’s picture beside Neda Agha-Soltan’s and don’t let Iran repeat what it did with Neda again with Sakineh,” said Ahadi, an Iranian human rights activist. Agha-Soltan was shot to death in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed election in June 2009 and became a symbol of Iran’s post-election rebellion.
[. . .]
“When I told her about the world’s support for her, that the world doesn’t think she has done any crime even if she had had an adulterous relationship, I had the feeling that once again she regained her honour … after all those humiliations from the Iranian officials,” Sajad, now 22, said.
[. . .]
At the conference, ICAS presented a document showing Mohammadi Ashtiani had in fact been convicted of adultery. She was originally sentenced to 99 lashes, but her case was reopened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted, but the adultery charge was reviewed and the death by stoning sentence handed down on the basis of “judge’s knowledge”.
The documents provided by ICAS show that two of five judges who investigated Mohammadi Ashtiani’s case concluded that there was no forensic evidence of adultery. “It’s shocking, she’s sentenced to death by stoning because three judges think, just think, that you had an illicit relationship outside marriage,” said Maryam Namazie of the ICAS.
Ashtiani’s lawyer has had to go into hiding. And of course, Ashtiani’s case is not an isolated one. Back to the Guardian article:
ICAS also issued a warning over the case of Mariam Ghorbanzadeh, 25, whose stoning sentence was commuted to hanging this week.
Ghorbanzadeh is pregnant and human rights activists believe that Iranian authorities are putting pressure on her in prison in the hope that she miscarries. They would then be allowed to execute her.
Like I said, pure barbarism.