Some welcome news for campaigners against stoning in Iran

Is the international outcry, against Iran sentencing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be stoned to death, having an impact?

It’s what has kept her alive, according to a story in the Times today. They report that Hossein Alizadeh, an Iranian diplomat seeking asylum in Finland, says the impact of the campaign has been “more than you can imagine” and that without it she would have been stoned to death by now.

There was also welcome news last week, when Ramin Mehmanparast, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Iran’s state-run Press TV that Ashtiani's execution for adultery had been "stopped". He also reiterated that her case was being reviewed, but said that "her sentencing for complicity in murder is in process".  

It’s not all good news though. Amnesty is concerned that the Iranian authorities may be preparing to bring what appear to be fresh charges against Ashtiani in relation to the death of her husband, Ebrahim Qaderzadeh. This follows her televised “confession” to involvement in his murder apparently under duress.

Sakineh’s state-appointed lawyer has told Amnesty that she had been acquitted of the murder.  But there are still worrying signs that while Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani may escape stoning, the authorities could still sentence her to death by hanging.

The campaign for Sakineh will continue until her death sentence is overturned once and for all. Get involved here.

Meanwhile the Guardian reports today that another woman, Farah Ghaemi, faces removal to Iran from the UK tomorrow, where she reportedly faces execution after the authorities found a copy of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses  at her home.

MP Gerald Kaufman, together with local people in Manchester where Farah is currently living with her children, are campaigning to stop the UK Border Agency carrying out the removal. Once again, people are standing up for the human rights of women in Iran – I hope this campaign is just as effective.

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