Iran: woman facing death for adultery pressured by prison authorities
Rallies have been held in London, Paris, New York, Berlin, Ottawa and other cities around the world to support Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by the Islamic Republic for adultery. Ashtiani has been incarcerated since 2005 and has already received received 99 lashes. She was initially sentenced to death by stoning, but the execution was put on hold earlier this month after an international outcry. "We do want to save her life," said Maryam Namazie, a protest organizer in London. "We are hoping this will be a stepping tone to ending stoning and executions in Iran once and for all."
Malekadjar Sharifi, an official in Eastern Azerbaijan province, denied the suspension of the stoning sentence was due to international pressure. Although she will not be stoned, rights groups worry that Ashtiani could still be hanged. Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, "apostasy" and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, enforced since the 1979 Islamic revolution. At least 10 other people, including seven women, are under sentence of stoning in Iran's prisons, according to Amnesty International. (AlJazeera, July 24)
According to unnamed sources cited by The Guardian, Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, has been interrogated inside Tabriz prison over the names of the people who have been in touch with her family to coordinate the international campaign on her behalf. (The Guardian, July 22)