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Call for Action

November 14, 2006
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According to Amnesty International, nine women and two men are under the threat of being executed by stoning.  An action alert had taken place for two of the stonings, in which there has been a stay of execution  and this month an urgent action alert has been issued for the other 7 women.

“AI previously took action on behalf of Ashraf Kalhori (see monthly update for August), and Hajieh Esmailvand (see UA 336/04, MDE 13/053/2004 and updates). This month, an Urgent Action was issued on behalf of the seven other women: Parisa was sentenced to execution by stoning for adultery, after being forced into prostitution by her husband due to family poverty. Iran was sentenced to stoning for adultery, which she denies, and five years imprisonment for being an accomplice to the murder of her husband. Khayrieh was sentenced to stoning for having an affair with a relative of her abusive husband. Shamameh Ghorbani (known as Malek), was sentenced to stoning for adultery. Kobra Najjar completed an eight year prison sentence for being an accomplice to the murder of her husband two years ago, and is now awaiting her stoning sentence for adultery to be implemented. She was allegedly forced into prostitution by her husband, who was violent towards her. Soghra Mola’i was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for being an accomplice in the murder of her husband, and execution by stoning for adultery. Fatemeh faces execution by stoning for having an ‘illicit relationship’. The team is seeking information on the two men who have received a sentence of stoning. (UA 257/06, MDE 13/113/2006, 28 September 2006)”

There is a group of human rights defenders in Iran that Amnesty International is working with, but the situation within Iran for human rights activists is deplorable:

“The climate in Iran for human rights defenders is dire. Iranian legislation severely restricts freedom of expression and association and human rights defenders often face reprisals for their work in the form of harassment, intimidation, attacks, detention, imprisonment and torture. Many are subject to travel bans that prevent them from leaving the country. Amnesty International is aware that those campaigning against the death penalty, including to abolish stoning, have been subjected to pressure and harassment. On 24 September 2006 at least 10 people were detained while demonstrating peacefully outside the United Nations office in Tehran. They were protesting against the expected imminent execution of several women, including Kobra Rahmanpour, Fatemeh Haghighat-pajouh, Nazanin Fathehi (a child offender) and Shahla Jahed. They were released later in the day after signing undertakings about their future actions. Amnesty International has received information that the group of human rights defenders campaigning to abolish stoning have been subjected to threats and harassment.

Iranian lawyer, journalist and human rights defender Shadi Sadr has been the leader in initiating a campaign against execution by stoning. She has been especially active in the case of Ashraf Kalhori, a mother of four who is at risk of execution by stoning for adultery. She submitted a petition to Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi calling upon him to halt the execution. The petition was signed by more than four thousand people, including more than one hundred Iranian women’s rights activists. A temporary stay of execution was granted but she still is under sentence of death. Shadi Sadr had been nominated by AI as a participant to the Global International Consultation on Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs), which took place in Sri Lanka in 2005, but was unable to attend due to the travel ban imposed against her. She was awarded the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism at the Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Gala in May 2004. “

You can read about Shadi Sadr here.

Most importantly, there is something that we can do and each and every one of us can do it, but needs to do it.  It is of the utmost urgence that we flood email boxes with our letters and mailboxes with the same.

Please visit here to automatically email the Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei – Leader of the Islamic Republic and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – President.  Their is a letter within the body allready.  Everything is done for you.

Further, here is a sample letter that you can cut and paste:

Dear:

I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the use of execution by stoning in Iran.  Stoning is a particularly brutal form of execution, specifically designed to increase and prolong the suffering endured by the individual being executed. I am particularly worried because of reports that two people were executed by stoning in May 2006, and that nine women and two men in Iran are currently under sentence of execution by stoning. 

The nine women who are under sentence of execution by stoning, all of whom incurred the sentence of stoning for adultery, include: Ashraf Kalhori, a mother of four whose execution was postponed in late July 2006 by the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi. She had been convicted of the crime of adultery and for alleged involvement in the death of her husband in April 2002. She remains under sentence of death; Parisa, who was convicted of adultery and who claimed she had been forced into prostitution by her husband due to the family’s poverty; Iran, who was convicted of adultery and of being accomplice to the murder of her husband after her alleged lover killed him; Khayrieh, who was also convicted of adultery and of being accomplice to the murder of her husband after her alleged lover killed him; Kobra Najjar, a victim of domestic violence who was forced into prostitution by her husband who was murdered by one of her clients; Shamameh Ghorbani (who is also known as Malek), who was convicted of adultery after a man found in her house was killed by her husband and other relatives; Soghra Mola’i, convicted of adultery and being an accomplice to the murder of her husband; Fatehmeh, who was convicted of committing adultery with a man who was killed allegedly by her with involvement of her husband; and Hajieh Esmailvand, who was accused of adultery with a seventeen-year-old who was also sentenced to death, but not by stoning. 

I am opposed to the death penalty in all cases. The U.N. Human Rights Committee has made clear that treating adultery and fornication as criminal offenses does not comply with international human rights standards. The sentence of execution by stoning for adultery breaches Iran’s commitment under article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that says that death sentences should only be imposed for the ‘most serious crimes.’ In December 2002 Ayatollah Shahroudi, the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, sent a ruling to judges ordering a moratorium on execution by stoning. I therefore urge you to commute the sentences of death by stoning for the women named above. I also strongly urge you to abolish the use of execution by stoning in Iran. I urge that a law that would ban stoning be introduced to the Iranian parliament. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  Sincerely,

Send your appeals to:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:             info@leader.ir                       

istiftaa@wilayah.org

Salutation:Your Excellency  

Head of the Judiciary

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi ShahroudiMinistry of Justice,

Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:              Please send emails via the feedback form on the Persian site of the website: http://www.iranjudiciary.org/contactus-feedback-fa.html

Salutation:                         Your Excellency 

PresidentHis Excellency Mahmoud AhmadinejadThe Presidency,

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax:                             + 98 21 6 649 5880

Email:                          dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir(Or via website)             http://www.president.ir/email

And, you can spread the word!

Update: For those of you that would like more information about stoning:

Stoning is a violent form of punishment prescribed by various religions. Due to the separation of church and state, however, it is no longer practiced in non-Muslim societies. This is because principles of secularism forbid lawmakers to turn rules that belong to previous millennia into modern law. The supporters of legalizing traditional forms of punishment argue that stoning and similar acts are necessary to deter sinners and prevent crime. And while the measure is not necessarily Islamic, but more fanatic and insensitive to human values, its contenders claim the act does not constitute violence. In their view, stoning is a punishment similar to capital punishment that is practiced in many Western societies where it is not characterized as violence.”

also, please refer to Ali Eteraz’s site: here

16 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2006 8:24 pm

    I recognize that there is often injustice and abuse in death penalty cases but I am not opposed to the death penalty in all cases.

    I do not know the particulars of the cases mentioned nor of the Iranian criminal justice system so I’ll make dua to Allah to protect the innocent people.

  2. November 14, 2006 8:34 pm

    Muslim apple, does that mean that you find stoning to death an appropriate way to enforce a death penalty?

  3. Maksim-Smelchak permalink
    November 14, 2006 10:16 pm

    Hi Samaha,

    Excellent work. Bravo.

    Shalom,
    Maksim-Smelchak.

  4. November 14, 2006 10:40 pm

    Samaha, I don’t actually know what “stoning to death” means or how it is carried out.

  5. November 14, 2006 11:30 pm

    Muslim Apple:

    “Stoning is a violent form of punishment prescribed by various religions. Due to the separation of church and state, however, it is no longer practiced in non-Muslim societies. This is because principles of secularism forbid lawmakers to turn rules that belong to previous millennia into modern law.

    The supporters of legalizing traditional forms of punishment argue that stoning and similar acts are necessary to deter sinners and prevent crime. And while the measure is not necessarily Islamic, but more fanatic and insensitive to human values, its contenders claim the act does not constitute violence. In their view, stoning is a punishment similar to capital punishment that is practiced in many Western societies where it is not characterized as violence.”

    http://www.mehrangizkar.com/english/archives/000247.php

    Thanks for pointing out that I should clarify what stoning to death actually is.

    I will update the post as well.

  6. November 14, 2006 11:34 pm

    Thanks Maksim.

  7. November 14, 2006 11:37 pm

    What I meant was that “stoning” is so far removed from my experience that while I understand it literally, I do not understand it practically. I do not know what is involved. Are actual rocks and stones used? I think the Taliban interpreted it as dropping a wall on the person. I have a better grasp on lethal injection, the electric chair, hanging, guillotine, etc. than I do on stoning.

  8. November 14, 2006 11:48 pm

    Pictures:

    http://www.mehrangizkar.com/english/archives/000246.php

    I believe in some places (and I thought this was the case with the Taliban in Afganistan) that they burry the person up to their head and then one or more people can stone them to death.

    I personally do not believe in the death sentence as I have seen so many people end up found innocent while on death row due to new dna evidence or someone else comming forward, BUT I can almost deal with (probably an oxy-moron) “a humane” death sentence. That being where death comes quickly without suffering.

    The other thing about these particular cases is that people can be stoned to death for adultery. A woman who was raped can turn around and be charged with adultery and be stoned to death.

    Prostitutes can be stoned to death.

    A woman can kill a rapist in self defense and end up with a sentence of being stoned to death.

    The problems are far greater than being stoned to death, their are issues with the punishment fitting the crime as well, but let’s all get together and stop the stonings.

    You can change the text within the letters to read whatever you are comfortable with.

  9. dawood permalink
    November 15, 2006 1:47 am

    This is a severe problem that is happening, and I wish more action could be taken rather than simply writing.

    I agree with Tariq Ramadan on his call for a morotarium on the Hudud. If you haven’t read his call, then it is well worth looking at.

    The problem is that for a start (perhaps the “Salafi” in me coming out) the hadith that do mention stoning do not mention anything about being buried up to the waist/neck or whatever. In fact, the few traditions which do exist (totalling around 3 cases in the Prophet’s lifetime, 2 of them being Jewish people, at least in Bukhari and Muslim) clearly mention that the people could run away from those performing the punishment.

    It is a bit of an aside, as it is clear that many contemporary scholars either see the stoning thing as being before the verse commanding lashing, or that it is simply an unatainable level of proof (4 adult male witnesses who see the actual sexual organs in action, while still being able to clearly identify those guilty with no doubt).

    I feel that it is a travesty that these things are still being done to these people, the majority of which who have had serious miscarriages of justice done against them even using Islamic law.

    Now, I am not aware of the Shi’a discourse on this issue, but the Sunni stuff I have read make the whole stoning thing to turn out more as a threat of punishment rather than something that can actually be enforced because of the level of proof.

    Anyway, a bit of a rant, hopefully not too off-topic. I hope Allah brings everyone to justice and grants those who deserve it Jannah Inshallah.😦

  10. November 15, 2006 10:16 am

    Thanks for this post, Samaha.

  11. November 15, 2006 5:00 pm

    Dawood – check it out, over at Eteraz there is news on the Women’s Protection Bill in Pakistan. It is a start (although far from just) and that letter writting campaign may have made all the difference!

    http://eteraz.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/pakistans-lower-house-passes-womens-protection-bill/

    Suroor, this is what this blog was originally intended for.

  12. Maksim-Smelchak permalink
    November 16, 2006 4:47 pm

    Hi Samaha,

    You’re welcome.

    Please keep up the good work.

    We have our differences, but I applaud what you’re doing and hope that folks like you and I can dialogue in the future.

    Shalom,
    Maksim-Smelchak.

  13. Swapno permalink
    February 15, 2009 8:05 pm

    Hajieh Esmailvand was acquitted on 9 December 2006 of the charge of adultery for which she had been sentenced to execution by stoning. She had been released on bail in September 2006 pending a retrial.
    (Source: Amnesty International)

Trackbacks

  1. Protest Stoning Executions « Smart and Final Isis
  2. My Experience at ProgressiveIslam.org « Samaha
  3. Action Alert: Kobbra Najjar Facing Imminent Execution by Stoning « Samaha

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