URGENT ALERT: IRAN
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.
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. Equality Now opposes the criminalization of private acts in which consensual adults engage.
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
Equality Now will forward letters to Iranian officials on behalf of anyone who does not wish to include her or his personal contact information. Please send letters to email@example.com.
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
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
Update 2 July 2012: Based on information currently available, Equality Now believes that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s death sentence may have been commuted and she will no longer be stoned to death or hanged. We will continue to monitor the case. Thank you for taking action and we will keep you updated as further information is received from our partners on the ground.
Update 29 September 2010: Equality Now calls on the Government of Iran to commute Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s death sentence.
Equality Now is deeply concerned about the news stating that Iran has sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani to death by hanging for the murder of her husband and condemns the lack of due legal process in her case.
Iran’s National Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei is reported to have stated that “according to the court’s ruling, she is convicted of murder and her death sentence has priority over her punishment (for committing adultery)”. Contradicting this account however, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast is reported to have said that a decision has still not been made and the court is considering both the adultery and murder charge against Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani.
In May 2006, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to 99 lashes for allegedly having “illicit relations” with two men and a prison term for being an accessory to her husband’s murder. In September 2006, the Sixth Branch of the Penal Court of East Azerbaijan Province, despite having no new evidence and despite a “double jeopardy” provision in Iranian law that prohibits the State from trying a person for an offence for which she has already been acquitted or convicted, sentenced Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani to stoning to death for adultery.
Following international outcry, Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s stoning was halted. However, Iranian authorities seem determined to have her executed without any regard for Iranian law or international legal standards. To this end, they appear to be illegally resurrecting the murder charge so that Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani can be put to death by the State by any means possible.
TAKE ACTION! Equality Now calls upon the Iranian government to rescind Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani's death sentence. We urge the government to commute 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. We also urge the officials 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 constitutional provision for equality before the law.
Please contact officials below calling for the commutation of Sakineh’s death sentence.
Update 13 August 2010: Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s lawyer Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei has been granted asylum in Norway after fleeing Iran. It has also been reported that Mr. Mostafaei’s wife and brother-in-law have been released from prison. Equality Now welcomes news of their release and that Mr. Mostafaei is safe from harassment, however we remain concerned about the welfare of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani who remains under threat of execution. Please continue to write to officials below to call for her immediate release.
Update 26 July 2010: Equality Now calls on Iranian authorities to rescind the arrest warrant issued against Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s lawyer and to immediately and unconditionally release all members of his family held in custody.
Equality Now condemns the harassment of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s lawyer Mr Mohammad Mostafaei by Iranian authorities. Mr Mostafaei was summoned for questioning by the Iranian government authorities. He has been asked to attend for another round of interrogation and the information we have received is that an arrest warrant has also been issued in his name allegedly for fraud and corruption. Mr Mostafaei has now disappeared, we believe due to fear of being arrested and imprisoned. It is our understanding that authorities have arrested Mr Mostafaei’s wife and brother-in-law in order to force him to come forward. His current whereabouts are unknown and it is possible he might already be in custody.
Equality Now is deeply concerned about the serious and persistent threats to human rights defenders in Iran. Please call on the authorities listed below to immediately and unconditionally release of all Mr Mostafaei’s family members held in custody, rescind any arrest warrant issued against Mr Mostafaei and allow Mr Mostafaei to carry out his legitimate duties without interference. Please also continue to call for Sakineh’s immediate release as she remains under threat of execution.
Update 9 July 2010: Equality Now welcomes the announcement from the Iranian Embassy in London that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani will no longer be stoned to death. However, we remain concerned for Ms Mohammadi-Ashtiani as her death sentence has not been commuted and her fate is unknown. Please continue to write to the authorities below calling on them to commute Ms Mohammadi-Ashtiani's death sentence, to commute all sentences of death by stoning, to prohibit by law all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments and 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.