Still alive as of today

Sakineh has not yet been killed:

Ms Ashtiani’s execution, however, is still imminent. This is clear from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to protesting governments. The Committees have received reports that the highest court has sent the order for her execution to Tabriz prison; she could therefore be executed at any time.

Still alive, but not released, either.

Even if they never execute her, they’re still torturing her. Of all we’ve heard about Sakineh, no one’s saying much about her current mental health. She’s probably not doing very well in prison.

Even if she gets released from prison and hops on a plane along with her kids to a free country where she can walk freely along with her family and the police don’t care what she does in the privacy of her bedroom with another consenting adult, the damage is done. She’s already lost years of her life to a case that should never have happened. That’s time, and peace of mind, that she can’t get back.

They’ve been killing her for years. She just hasn’t yet died.

“Oh, but that’s just their culture!”

As reported by Maryam Namazie at

[…]the authorities in Tehran have given the go ahead to Tabriz prison for the execution of Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. It has been reported that she is to be executed this Wednesday 3 November.


In other news, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh [Sakineh’s son] and Houtan Kian [her lawyer] have been severely tortured in order to obtain confessions against Sakineh and themselves since their arrests on 10 October along with two German journalists. The initial interrogations by the Ministry of Intelligence have now been completed and the casefile sent to the National Prosecutor General and Judiciary Spokesperson, Mohsen-Ejehi, in Tehran rather than being handled in Tabriz. Their families are concerned for their wellbeing. When attempting to secure lawyers for the two, authorities have said that the two men did not need legal representation.

All this is over a case of adultery without any real evidence. (And, no, the judges’ “special knowledge” is not evidence.) I suppose that after a certain point, it was no longer really about prosecuting an adulteress and more about the authorities saving face. The prosecution was getting a lot of attention in the international press, and the authorities had to insist that they couldn’t possibly have made a mistake, so they doubled down. Perhaps that makes them look better to Iranians, and they don’t give a shit that they look like monsters—and not even very competent ones—to Westerners.

At this point, I don’t expect anyone to be able to save Sakineh. She’s a dead woman walking. It might not be too late to get her son and lawyer the hell out of there.

Paging Irshad Manji

Over at Jezebel, Anna North indulges moral equivalency and cultural oversensitivity.

Comparing the case of Sakineh Ashtiani in Iran to Teresa Lewis in Virginia, North first quotes some Iranian new source as if they’re making any sense:

The US and the American media tried their best to make a symbol of human rights out of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani because of the background of their atrocities towards Iran but after seven years, human rights organisations have been silent for Teresa. This shows their double standard in relation to other countries.

Yes, everything is about how the U.S. is so horribly cruel to Iran.

Okay, I won’t argue about how our government policies have treated Iran. You know why? Because it’s a non-issue. The people who are all up in arms on behalf of Mrs. Ashtiani are not the same set of people who advocated for the U.S. to “Bomb Bomb Iran.” In fact I’d be willing to wager that a lot of the same people who are opposed to the execution of Teresa Lewis are also in support of Ashtiani.

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Sakineh and Soraya: Truth is Scarier Than Fiction

Irshad Manji summarizes the “case” against Sakineh:

Stoning cases themselves tend to be built on a pile of indignities. Consider the allegation against Ms. Ashtiani: adultery. The charge is manifestly trumped up and the investigation has been stacked from the get-go — so much so that a loophole had to be invoked to convict her. That loophole lets judges claim special “knowledge” for which there’s no evidence. How convenient.

MSNBC offers more information:

In May 2006, a criminal court in East Azerbaijan province found Ashtiani guilty of having had an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband.

But that September, during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, another court reopened an adultery case based on events that allegedly took place before her husband died, the BBC reported.

Mohammed Mostafaei, an Iranian lawyer who volunteered to represent Ashtiani when her sentence was announced a few months ago, called the planned stoning “an absolutely illegal sentence.”

“Two of five judges who investigated Sakineh’s case in Tabriz prison concluded that there’s no forensic evidence of adultery,” Mostafaei told the Guardian. “According to the law, death sentence and especially stoning needs explicit evidences and witnesses while in her case, surprisingly, the judge’s knowledge was considered as enough,” he said.

While I was watching The Stoning of Soraya M., something that left me especially gobsmacked about the story was that the definition of “adultery” was so broad that Soraya didn’t even have to be accused of having extramarital sex. The accusations basically amounted to her flirting with another man.

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