Iran: Woman faces 100 lashes for adultery

An Iranian woman been sentenced to 100 lashes, after being found guilty of adultery at a retrial. The woman, Shamaheh Ghorbani, claims that she only said she was having a relationship with a man found at her house to ensure that her husband and brothers, who stabbed the man to death, were not charged with murder.

Amnesty International members are sending urgent appeals to Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Head of the Iranian Judiciary, imploring him to commute the sentence of flogging.

Shamameh Ghorbani, aged 34, had originally been sentenced to execution by stoning in June 2006 after her brothers and husband murdered a man they found in her house, and she too was nearly killed when they stabbed her. The men were convicted of deserved or 'legitimate' murder and received a sentence of six years' imprisonment.

In a letter to the court submitted by her lawyer during her first trial she said: "Since I am a rural, illiterate woman and I didn't know the law, I thought that if I confessed to a relationship with the dead man, I could clear my brothers and husband of intentional murder. I said these untrue words in court and then understood I had done myself an injury."

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Shamameh Ghorbani is facing a brutal and inhumane punishment. Like thousands of other Amnesty supporters, I am urging the Iranian authorities to commute her sentence.

“The fact that she is a woman will have undoubtedly worked against her. Iranian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights do not get equal treatment under the law and higher illiteracy rates among Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights mean they are more likely to sign confessions they don’t understand.

“Iran has taken a real step forward by suspending the use of stoning, perhaps the cruellest judicial punishment in the modern world. Now it needs to follow this up and abandon flogging as well, bringing itself more in line with basic human rights standards.”

In November 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the trial verdict against Shamameh Ghorbani was based on insufficient or incomplete evidence, and overturned the death sentence. The case was returned to a lower court for a retrial, which ruled this month that Ghorbani should not be stoned to death, but should instead receive 100 lashes. She was released from prison in Oroumiye, western Iran, where she had been held since 2005, but her sentence may still be implemented.

On 5 August 2008, Iran's judiciary announced that it was suspending the use of stoning as a means of execution and that ten unnamed Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, facing death in this way, would not be stoned. The announcement came two weeks after the Iran-based Stop Stoning Forever Campaign renewed their call for all stoning cases to be reviewed and for all stoning sentences to be rescinded.

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