In the wake of an international outcry over the stoning to death of Sakineh Ashtiani, celebrities such as Sting, Robert Redford and Robert De Niro have added their signatures to an open letter calling for the Iranian government to release Ashtiani. She is accused of adultery which in Iran is punishable by stoning to death, but many people the world over wish to see an end to the barbaric practise.
The Iranian woman Sakineh Ashtiani, was implicated in the murder of her former husband, a crime for which she served 10 years in prison. Her eldest son, Sajad Ghaderzade, asked for the world’s help when the Iranian government, after pressure from other humanitarian groups, changed the reasons for her proposed stoning, stating it was because of her involvement with her husband’s murder – a crime for which she’d already been punished.
The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are under even more pressure to release Sanikeh now as the eyes of the world are opening to the story.
A letter published on the front page of The Times newspaper reads: “We, the undersigned, call on the government of Iran to release immediately Ms Ashtiani, her son Sajad Ghaderzade, and her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, from incarceration.”
Mia Farrow and Juliette Binoche have also signed the petition.
The barbaric nature of the punishment is one thing, but the unfairness of stoning is unforgivable. As the law states, all subjects are allowed to go free if they escape from the hole in which they are buried, but men are only buried to their waste, whereas women are buried up to their necks.
Authorities have ignored the escape ruling in many cases and people (mainly women) who have successfully freed themselves have been dragged back and stoned to death or shot on sight.
In one case that happened on August 10th, 1994, in the city of Arak, a woman was sentenced to death by stoning. Not only were her husband and children forced to watch the horrific act, but part way through the stoning she escaped, despite having lost both eyes. She was recaptured and shot to death by guards.
The act of stoning is supposedly carried out in the name of Islam, but the Quran and the Prophet of Islam are strongly opposed to such behaviour. Indeed the Prophet’s work was to eradicate such barbarism and create a society where people were treated equally and women were no longer victimised.
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Images: jeffweintraub.blogspot.com, babble.com