Sakineh Ashtiani sits in a prison in Iran waiting for her death sentence to be carried out. But the Iranian masters of the religion of peace has decided to show mercy, instead of being stoned to death she will be hung.
The 42-year-old woman from the northern city of Tabriz was convicted of adultery in 2006, and her execution is imminent. Ashtiani did confess but that confession was beaten out of her with 99 lashes
In an interview with Rooz online, her former lawyer, Mohammed Mostafaie reiterated that there are many flaws in the case against her. Two out of five judges have shown doubt in the case while the verdict must be unanimous. Besides, according to the Islamic Shariat law, 4 unbiased witnesses must testify to the case of adultery who in this case there are none. Sakineh has pleaded for a pardon on two occasions and has been refused. She does not have a plaintiff and her two children have testified to their mother’s innocence but that has all been ignored. Mr Mostafaie affirms that in some cities the judges’ decisions are biased due to cultural beliefs. The fact that in her file Sakineh has confessed to having out of marriage relations (though she has taken back her statement) plays a major role in her death sentence.
A new fate planned for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was announced by Iran’s national prosecutor general, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, at a news conference in Tehran. Apparently the fake murder charge comes before the fake adultery charge.
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“According to the court’s ruling, she is convicted of murder and her death sentence has priority over her punishment [for committing adultery]”, the Tehran Times reported, citing Mohseni-Ejei.
The newspaper said that the prosecutor’s remarks mean Ashtiani – an illiterate 43-year-old Azeri mother of two whose husband was killed by her cousin – will not be stoned to death for committing adultery because she should first be executed for murder.
“The issue should not be politicized and the judiciary will not be influenced by the propaganda campaign launched by the Western media,” added Mohseni-Ejei, who also serves as the judiciary spokesman.
However the Iranian government today appeared to contradict Mohseni-Ejei’s statements by claiming that no final decision had yet been taken in the case.
“The judicial process has not yet finished and the final judgement will be announced after the end of the process,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.
Ashtiani has been denied access to her family and lawyer, who fled the country after being persecuted for publicizing her case.
The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was repeatedly tackled about Ashtiani’s case when he visited New York last week to address the United Nations.
In contradiction to his country’s judicial officials, Ahmadinejad denied that Ashtiani had ever been sentenced to death by stoning and suggested that the international outcry had been whipped up by Western media propaganda.
“There’s no stoning case here at all,” he told Larry King Live. “A person in Germany made this claim, which was untrue. Our judiciary also said it was untrue.”
On the day of Ahmadinejad’s address an open letter was released from Ashtiani’s son to Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general.
In it he begged him to intervene to save his mother’s life, dismissing the Islamic Republic’s professed commitment to human rights as an “absolute lie” and calling for an international ban on stoning.
Describing life inside Tabriz prison, Mohammadi Ashtiani has said she has been subject to constant mistreatment by prison guards.
“Their words, the way they see me – an adulterous woman who should be stoned to death – is just like being stoned to death every day.”
She thanked campaigners for highlighting her case and said international pressure was the only hope for release.
“For all these years, they [the officials] have tried to put something in my mind, to convince me that I’m an adulterous woman, an irresponsible mother, a criminal but with the international support, once again I’m finding myself, my innocent self.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, nothing like justice from the religion of peace.