IRAN: SAKINEH MOHAMMADI ASHTIANI SUBJECTED TO MOCK EXECUTION
|Sakineh Mohamamadi Ashtiani
August 31, 2010: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, was told on August 28 that she was to be hanged at dawn the day after, but the sentence was not carried out, it emerged tonight.
Mohammadi Ashtiani wrote her will and embraced her cellmates in Tabriz prison just before the call to morning prayer, when she expected to be led to the gallows, her son Sajad told the Guardian.
"Pressure from the international community has so far stopped them from carrying out the sentence but they're killing her every day by any means possible," he said.
The mock execution came days after prison authorities denied family and legal visits to Mohammadi Ashtiani. Her children were told she was unwilling to meet them while she was told, also falsely, that no one had come to visit her.
Sajad, 22, heard the latest evidence of psychological pressure on his mother when he spoke to her by phone yesterday. "They are furious with the international outcry over my mother's case so they are taking revenge on her," he said. "The more the pressure comes from outside Iran, the more they mistreat her."
Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was flogged 99 times for having an "illicit relationship outside marriage" in 2006 but another court reviewed her case after her husband was murdered. She was acquitted of murder but found guilty of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.
Since her case has captured world attention, Iranian officials have claimed she was an accomplice to the murder of her husband although her government-appointed lawyer, Houtan Kian, has accused the government of inventing charges against her.
Sajad said he believes the only reason his mother is still alive is because of the international campaign for her release. "I beg everybody in the world to continue their support for my mother. That is the only way she might be spared from the death sentence," he said.
In a visit to Iran's judiciary office in his home town today, Sajad was told that the file on his father's murder case has been lost. "They are lying about the charges against my mother. She was acquitted of murdering my father but now the government is building up their own story against her."
Last week, Kian's house was ransacked by plain-clothes officials and his documents, including one which shows Sakineh was acquitted of her husband's murder, were confiscated. Since then, they have been unable to find a copy of the sentence."They are destroying all our evidence," Sajad said. "They were not unusual documents and evidence. They were just the official documents of my mother's sentence. They want to destroy them all because they know there are lots of discrepancies and contradictions in them." (Sources: Guardian.co.uk, 31/08/2010)