Anorak News | Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s Plight In Iran Shames Anyone Who Screamed ‘We’re All Hizbollah Now’

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s Plight In Iran Shames Anyone Who Screamed ‘We’re All Hizbollah Now’

by | 5th, September 2010

GOOD news for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. The Iranian woman will not be killed by security forces, like Neda Soltan. She will not be stoned to death, as was first intended for her. The powers that be say she will be hanged. She will also be lashed 99 times for the crime of allowing the Times to publish a picture of her without a headscarf.

But it wasn’t her in the picture. It was another woman. It was Susan Hejrat, an Iranian political activist living in Sweden.

What else do we know about a case that highlights the plight of women in Iran?

This latest chapter of this story began on 28 August, when the Times published a picture it said was of Ms Ashtiani. The source of the picture was said to be her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafei. He says he was handed the picture by Ashtiani’s son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh. The son denies this, and Mr Mostafei is no longer in Iran, having fled to Norway.

The Times duly apologises for its error. Mr Ghaderzadeh, who along with the escaped lawyer is accused of not being able to recognise Ashtiani, writes an open letter. He says his mother is “on false charges of spreading corruption and indecency by disseminating this picture of a woman presumed to be her without hijab“:

This news reached us through some prisoners who were released from Tabriz prison recently and have informed my mother’s lawyer, Houtan Kian, that she has been given a sentence of 99 lashes for the alleged unveiled photo of her published in western media.

“As far as we know, the sentence of 99 lashes has not been administered yet. Once I got the Times apology for the misidentified photo, I instantly informed the lawyer and we are going to ask for an appeal. My mother has been denied visits for the past two weeks, no one has been allowed to visit her, including her family and even her lawyer. She has also been denied access to a phone and we have been completely cut off from her.”

The story seems to be a simple case of state-sanctioned cruelty and abuse of power. But there is more to it. In May 2006, Ms Ashtiani was found guilty of having had an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband.

In September 2006, Eisa Taheri went on trial for the murder of Ms Ashtiani’s husband, Ebrahim Qaderzadeh. He had been found dead on his bathroom floor in 2005.

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Taheri was found guilty. But he was not sentenced to death nor was he to be lashed. Press TV reports:

Given that Ghaderzadeh’s next of kin waived their right to retribution, and pursuant to the Iranian Criminal Code, Isa Taheri was handed down a 10-year discretionary jail term, the announcement read.

Ms Ashtiani was back in the spotlight and a court sat to hear the allegation that she had committed adultery before her husband’s death and played a part in that murder.

She confessed. She then withdrew her statement saying it had been extracted under duress. Nonetheless, she was convicted of “adultery while being married” and sentenced to death by stoning.

In August 2010, Iranian TV aired what it said was a confession from Ms Ashtiani of her involvement in her husband’s murder.

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Says her lawyer Houtan Kian:

“She was severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera.”

Says the woman on TV:

He told me: ‘Let’s kill your husband’. I totally could not believe that my husband would be killed. I thought he was joking,” Miss Ashtiani appears to say. “Later, I found out that killing was his profession. He came (to our house) and brought all the stuff. He brought electrical devices, plus wire and gloves. Later, he killed my husband by connecting him to the electricity,” she says.

Why someone would go on the TV to tell everyone she played a part in a murder – a crime for which her punishment is execution – is odd.

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The case is now a cause celebre. Recently, Carla Bruni, France’s first lady, entered the fray. In an open letter, she wrote:

Spill your blood, deprive your children of their mother, why? Because you have lived? Because you have loved? Because you are a woman? Your judges should know, Sakineh, that your name has become a symbol for the entire planet…I assure you that my husband will plead your cause…and France will not abandon you.”

The Iranian newspaper Kayhan issued an editorial entitled: “French prostitutes join the human rights protest.

And with that the West finds a new reason to dislike Iran.

Note: This might make interesting reading for women who once brandished the banner with the motto “We’re All Hizbollah now” in support of a military force that want to murder all the Jews – a  force  funded, trained by and answerable to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

World Against War

Posted: 5th, September 2010 | In: Reviews Comments (12) | TrackBack | Permalink