International Pressure on Iranian Government to Ban Stoning Must Continue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 July 2007
Contact: Lakshmi Anantnarayan, 212-586-0906, email@example.com
New York – Jafar Kiani was stoned to death in Iran on July 5, 2007. Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and her partner Jafar Kiani were originally scheduled to be stoned to death on June 21, 2007 for adultery. Owing to international advocacy and pressure on Iranian officials, the act of stoning was suspended in the eleventh hour by a written order of the head of the judiciary in Tehran. Two weeks following the order, Iranian judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi announced in Tehran yesterday that Kiani’s sentence of stoning had been carried out on July 5, 2007, in Aghchekand.
Despite Iran’s 2002 moratorium on death by stoning, a woman and man are reported to have been stoned in 2006 and Kiani’s death is the latest in such incidents. In his announcement on July 10, 2007, Jamshidi also stated that 20 other impending executions will take place in the coming weeks. In lieu of current circumstances Equality Now is extremely concerned about the safety of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and several other women who have been sentenced to death by stoning including Kobra Najjar. The Stop Stoning Forever Campaign has called on, “all citizens of the world to raise their opposition to stoning and try to save the life of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi from stoning.”
Equality Now is also very concerned about the recent crackdown on Iranian women’s rights advocates and civil society at large. Two advocates who were members of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign, Delaram Ali and Alieh Eghdam Doost, were sentenced last week to imprisonment and lashings for participating in a peaceful demonstration in June 2006.
Over the past years the Iranian judiciary has displayed a lack of political will to completely ban stoning in the country. The head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, passed a moratorium on stoning in 2002, but death by stoning continues to occur. On June 20, 2007 Shahroudi also issued a written order suspending the stoning of Kiani and Ebrahimi, but Kiani was stoned to death two weeks later. Equality Now Executive Director, Taina Bien-Aimé stated, “What is the use of a moratorium on stoning or a written order suspending the stoning if local judges can decide on these cases independently and they continue to carry out stoning sentences?” She continues: “The judiciary in Iran must irrevocably reverse all current sentences of death by stoning for so-called “immoral acts.” What is immoral is the act of stoning, and all other forms of violent and inhumane punishments, which the Iranian government must ban immediately.”