By: Alexandra Kinias
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is not the new face of the Iranian revolution; she is just the current one. As her story became the headline in news media worldwide, it brought back to the light the deplorable situation of women living under the brutal Iranian regime. Her story is just another reminder of the fate of women governed by theocratic regimes, that once in power claim ownership of the bodies and minds of the women they govern.
Ashtiani had been sentenced to stoning by the Iranian judiciary system for committing adultery, a crime that had not and can not be verified since there was no man brought to justice.
Ashtiani’s lawyer has said his client’s conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges.
To carry on such heinous crime the victim is buried to her chest in the ground and is showered by rocks and stones by her executioners until she dies, from her injuries. The Iranian ruthless regimes also have specifications for the stones used. Such stones should be big enough to kill the victim, but not so large that they kill her too quickly.
Ashtiani was waiting for the sentence to be carried when her story leaked to the media. Her children together with her lawyer, communicated to the world through her lawyer’s blog and sought the international community to help stop the sentence.
From her cold prison cell in Tebriz, Ashtiani communicated to the world , through a human rights advocate her feelings after she received the sentence.
“The day I was given the stoning sentence, it was as if I fell into a deep hole and I lost consciousness. Many nights, before sleeping, I think to myself how can anybody be prepared to throw stones at me; to aim at my face and hands? Why?”
“I am now quiet and sad because a part of my heart is frozen, …. The day I was flogged in front of [my son] Sajjad, I was crushed and my dignity and heart were broken.”
Her story created an international buzz and mobilized the energies of human rights organizations to save her. As a result of the media pressure on the government of Iran, the sentence was halted, but her lawyer went into hiding and his family was detained.
On 14 July Sajjad Qaderzadeh, Ashtiani’s son, was summoned to Tabriz’s Central Prison, and is believed to have been questioned by Ministry of Intelligence officials. Human rights groups were concerned that he may have been threatened, so he would not give further interviews about his mother’s case following his widely-covered interview with international media.
The global movement to stop the stoning of Ashtiani also galvanized the efforts of the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He intervene to the Iranian government and offer her asylum in Brazil. The intervention of Brazilian president raised the hope again that her sentence might be reversed.
If her life is spared, Ashtiani would be the first woman in Iran to escape this medieval brutal fate. But would the world intervene again to save the other twelve Iranian women who have been sentenced to stoning too?