Concerted Global Advocacy Efforts Narrowly Avert Stoning to Death of Two Iranians

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Equality Now Supports Iranian Activists, Call for an Immediate Ban on Stoning in Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 June 2007
Contact: Lakshmi Anantnarayan, 212-586-0906, lanant@equalitynow.org

Equality Now is temporarily relieved that the stoning to death of an Iranian woman and man, scheduled to take place on June 21, 2007, was suspended in the eleventh hour by a written order of the head of the Judiciary in Tehran. On June 21, 2007 Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and the unnamed father of her 11 year old child were to be stoned to death in Takistan, Ghazvin for having a child out of wedlock. Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and her partner have already served 11 years in prison for this crime. Intense advocacy efforts and rapid responses by Iranian groups, international organizations and individuals played a critical role in averting the brutal murders from taking place.  The Stop Stoning Forever Campaign clarified that, "the stoning sentence of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and her partner is still legally in effect and it is only the implementation of the sentence that has been suspended." It is worrisome to also note that Iranian authorities have commuted stoning sentences to other forms of executions.

Equality Now continues to be very concerned about the safety of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, her partner and several others like them including Kobra Najjar, who are in prison, having been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, and are awaiting the dates when they might be brutally executed. Kobra Najjar is a 44-year-old Iranian woman whose husband subjected her to systematic violence during their marriage, and forced her into prostitution for 12 years in order to sustain his heroin addiction. When one of Kobra's "clients" Habib sympathized with her and murdered her husband, Kobra and Habib were sentenced to death for the murder. After serving 8 years, enduring 100 lashes for fornication, and paying compensation to the heirs of the murdered, Habib was freed. On the other hand, Kobra, who has already completed her term for being an accomplice to the murder of her husband by serving 8 years in prison, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and her appeal for amnesty and clemency was rejected for the third time last week.

Equality Now Executive Director, Taina Bien-Aimé emphasized, "We must not wait until hours before women are stoned to take action. We must call on Iran now to reverse all current sentences of death by stoning and to change its laws to ban stoning and all other forms of violent and inhuman punishments. Until that is done the women and men sentenced to death by stoning will continue to face a very real and constant threat of an imminent cruel and brutal death."

June 25, 2007 - 12:45