URGENT ALERT: IRAN
June 2010Call on the Government of Iran to stop the imminent execution of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani sentenced to death by stoning
Equality Now is deeply concerned about Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Information received by Equality Now suggests that Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery with two men. The verdict is final and could be implemented at any time according to credible sources. Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani is said to have been in jail in Tabriz for the past five years. She was initially sentenced to 99 lashes on 15 May 2006 by a court in the city if Osku in the North West Iranian province of East Azerbaijan for the lesser crime of having “illicit relations” with the two men, in other words, engaging in conduct that did not constitute sexual intercourse. However, on 10 September 2006 her case was taken up again by a different court, the Sixth Branch of the Penal Court of East Azerbaijan Province, where the charge of adultery was brought against her.
Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani denied the charge and, as far as Equality Now is aware, no relevant evidence was admitted against her. She was convicted solely on the basis of the judge’s opinion that she had committed adultery and was sentenced to death by stoning.
Iranian law indicates that a second charge on the same offence of which a person has already been convicted may not be brought. In this case Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani has already been lashed for the offence of having illicit relations. We have been informed that two of the five councilors appointed by the court stated that in their opinion there was no legal proof for the charge of adultery.
Stoning to death violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party. The ICCPR clearly prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. It also limits the imposition of the death penalty “only for the most serious crimes.” The United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee have determined that a wide range of specific offences fall outside the scope of the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed and this includes adultery. Equality Now opposes the criminalization of private acts in which consensual adults engage.
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