Press release

In an announcement to the state press, Malek Azhdar Sharifi, the Prosecutor for East Azerbaijan, has said that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been given leave from prison to attend her mother’s funeral. He added that there are no new developments in her case. Malek Azhdar Sharifi said that Sakineh is incarcerated in Tabriz central prison for complicity in her husband’s murder.

Allowing Sakineh to take temporary leave under international pressure is a small concession by the regime, which must continue until Sakineh and her lawyer Houtan Kian are released.

Regarding the charges that the regime has laid against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, different government authorities have said different things. One day they say her stoning sentence is under review, and another day they claim that she was never sentenced to be stoned. One day they say that she is incarcerated for complicity in her husband’s murder, and another they say that her case is undergoing further investigation. Such is the regime’s treatment of most prisoners in Iran. Decisions regarding the life or death of individuals are completely political, and the criminal leaders of the Iranian regime make these decisions dispassionately, based on what message they think a person’s execution by hanging or stoning will convey.

Sakineh remains in limbo. On the one hand, the regime is under intense pressure from public opinion and other governments, and on the other, it does not wish to concede defeat by releasing Sakineh. Therefore, the regime’s injustice system has decided to leave her in limbo.

Regarding Sakineh’s charge of collaborating in her husband’s murder, although she was already tried and sentenced for this by another court, the regime and its “Press TV” television channel, together with the thuggish journalists and interrogators working for this “news” network, forced Sakineh to confess on television to having participated in her husband’s murder. Transcending the boundaries of shamelessness and obscenity, the network forced Sajjad, Sakineh’s son, to play his own father on television, and his mother to act out how she had killed him!

If this happened anywhere else, those responsible would immediately be arrested and tried; but Iran is a playground for a handful of Islamic sadists and criminals who have rendered such behaviour utterly commonplace there.

According to our sources, Sakineh is in bad psychological condition in prison, and has even harmed herself several times. She has two children who until now lived with their grandmother. With the death of Sakineh’s mother, these two youth have effectively been left utterly alone. The International Committee Against Stoning once again calls for pressure to be exerted on the Islamic regime of Iran to release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani as well as her lawyer, Houtan Kian.

International Committee Against Stoning
14 July 2011

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