Videos: The upcoming stoning of Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani

Over the last two years, I have repeatedly written about an unbelievably heartbreaking film, The Stoning of Soraya M, which detailed the true story of a young woman stoned to death in Iran over twenty years ago.  The filmmaker, Cyrus Nowrasteh, hoped to focus international attention on the barbaric practice still used in Iran and other nations against men and women, but primarily against women.  Unfortunately, Iran has chosen to stone another woman to death, this time a 43-year-old mother of two, Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani.  CNN covers the story well:

Cyrus, whom I interviewed at CPAC, spoke to CNN about the case:

CNN also published this scathing indictment of Iran and the practice of stoning by Arsalan Iftikhar, founder of and legal fellow for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington:

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani — a mother of two — could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence that Iranian authorities handed down in 2006.

Originally sentenced to 99 lashes for her alleged “illicit relationship outside of marriage,” Ashtiani endured that corporal punishment in front of her then-17-year-old son in 2006. She was subsequently cleared of murder charges against her husband, but the judicial panel then re-examined Ashtiani’s adultery sentence, and based on unspecified “judges’ knowledge,” bizarrely decided that she should be put to death by stoning for the alleged affair.

“At that time, it should have been finished. They should have punished her only once,” said her son Sajjad, now 22. “Her documents say she is innocent. She already paid for the crime.”

According to Amnesty International, the Iranian penal code specifies the procedures for death penalties and also specifies the types of rocks that should be used in stoning executions. Article 102 of the Iranian penal code states that “men will be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts” for the purpose of execution by stoning. …

Sakineh Ashtiani, who is from the northern city of Tabriz, was convicted of adultery in 2006. Some human rights lawyers believe that a language barrier prevented her from fully comprehending court proceedings at the time. She is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.

In 2006, she was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, according to human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei in Tehran. She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing in the matter.

Furthermore, her conviction was based on the determination of three out of five judges, which is strange because Article 74 of the Iranian penal code clearly requires at least four eyewitnesses — four men or three men and two women — for an adulterer to receive a stoning death sentence.

When the book on which Stoning is based came out, Iran was embarrassed enough to deny that it ever took place. Now they apparently have no trouble putting their barbarity on display for the whole world to see.