Following is a press release e-mailed to me by Rayya Ghul about Zohreh Kabiri-niat and her sister, Azar, who have been sentenced to be executed by stoning in Iran. The women have already both received 99 lashes after which they were returned to prison. Instead of being released as scheduled, however, they were retried (even though being tried twice for the same crime is illegal under Iranian law) and sentenced this time to be stoned to death.
Zohreh Kabiri-Niat’s husband is responsible for these sentences. In news reports, Zohreh describes him as having always been suspicious and jealous and as forcing her to quit her job as a schoolteacher, a job she loved. He finally installed a hidden camera in their home to monitor his wife’ s activities while he was at work, saying he was unhappy because his wife wasn’t treating him well. She says she wasn’t treating him well because he was out-of-control jealous and mistreated her.
While the camera did show that men had entered Zohreh’s home while she and her sister were there, there were no photographs of the women engaging in sexual activity with the men. Authorities interrogated the women several times and claimed they confessed, but Zohreh says she did not confess. Azar’s husband was present in the home on at least some of the occasions when men were filmed visiting the home. He has never brought any complaints against his wife.
The press release includes a link; if you click on it, you can help to put international pressure on the Iranian government to intervene in these illegal and hideous sentences. We have seen before that at times, bringing public pressure to bear on those responsible for these judicial atrocities has resulted in sentences being dropped and women being freed: link, link.
The situation of Iranian women appears to be deteriorating in direct proportion to the hard work and commitment to women’s rights which have been displayed by the Iranian women’s activists: link, link, link, link, link.
Please support these women! If you click on the link at the end of the press release you can send an e-mail asking that this sentence be revoked and that the women be freed.
Zohreh Kabiri-niat and her sister Azar, are facing execution by stoning, for “adultery”, a charge which they deny. They were arrested on 4 February 2007 after claims that they had had “illicit relations”. They were initially sentenced, along with a third sister, to flogging, with this sentence reportedly being carried out.
However, a fresh charge of “committing adultery while being married” was then brought against Zohreh and Azar, where they were both found guilty and their sentence of death by stoning was then approved by the Supreme Court.
A moratorium on execution by stoning was ordered by the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, in December 2002. Despite this, sentences of death by stoning in Iran are still being passed and, on occasion, carried out.
Iran’s Penal Code prescribes execution by stoning. It even dictates that the stones are large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately. Article 102 of the Penal Code states that men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. Article 104 states, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should “not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones”.
Please take steps to help stop this execution and to call on the country’s authorities to immediately abolish this grotesque punishment, which is specifically designed to increase the suffering of its victims.
Please click on this link and take action.
Amnesty International UK
Campaign Manager – Death Penalty