Protesters around the world raced to stop the stoning of a woman who was wrongly convicted of adultery in Iran. The Islamic Penal Code lists stoning as punishment for this crime. A world call for help has been answered and for now her life has been saved.
The film shown, Women In Shroud, is extremely graphic. Care should be exercised when making the decision to view this video clip that was recently shown to Human Rights Organizations in Prague and around the world. We are not showing it for shock value, it's being shared to build awareness of death by stoning. The vivid images are disturbing but not as disturbing as closing our eyes and ignoring this inhumane punishment in which woman, mothers, children and men are murdered for crimes that are not deserving of death as the punishment, much less death in such a barbaric fashion dating back thousands of years.
After weeks, months and years of protests and world calls to action Iranian authorities have announced that a woman convicted of adultery will not be stoned to death. But the "dark ages" haven't ended yet in Iran or in other countries that support and carry-out horrific punishments to their condemned reports the BBC.
Ashtiani's supporters and family have left the following statement on a Facebook page created to gain her freedom. - There has been some news that the Iranian Regime has halted the stoning execution of, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Whether that is true OR not, The fight continues, until any death sentence that is planned, is HALTED and she is released
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is still facing execution by hanging after being convicted of adultery, it was reported her son told the Guardian today.
For the moment Iran has caved to public pressure and the glare of the global spotlight. Time will tell what fate awaits Ashtiani, and the practices of inhumanity in Iran.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43 year old mother of two children has been imprisoned in Tabriz since 2006 had already been punished for these false claims with a public flogging in which she suffered up to 100 lashes for a alleged relationship outside of marriage.
Under Iran's strict interpretation of the Islamic law and the Islamic Penal Code sex before marriage is punishable by 100 lashes, but married offenders are sentenced to death by stoning.
Ms. Ashtiani's lawyer and human rights activists had warned that her execution was imminent, after appeals for clemency were rejected as reported by Digital Journal.
In May 2006, a criminal court in East Azerbaijan province found Ms. Ashtiani guilty of having had an "illicit relationship" with two men following the death of her husband. She was given 99 lashes.
But that September, during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, another court reopened an adultery case based on events that allegedly took place before her husband died.
If she had been stoned the 42-year old Ashtiani would have be buried up to her chest and the stones hurled at her would be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately. A brutal and inhumane punishment that some liken to the execution by firing squad that recently took place in the United States in Utah.
Despite retracting a confession the she said she had been forced to make under duress, Ms Ashtiani was found guilty, that is when human rights groups became involved and called for international pressure to stop this horrible punishment for Ashtiani before she was killed.
Amnesty International who actively fought this sentence and many others just like it are still very concerned for the other woman on death row awaiting execution by stoning. They say the majority of those sentenced to death by stoning in Iran are women. The organization, which tracks death penalty cases throughout the world, says Ashtiani's case is not an exception, but the rule in Iran.
"Women In Shroud," a documentary shown at the One World Human Rights Film Festival in Prague, follows activists' struggle to end the brutal practice of execution by stoning in Iran. In their film they show the steps leading up to a stoning, with the condemned being wrapped in a shroud, placed in a hole and then publicly stoned.
While Ashtiani, who's life has been spared for now would like to leave her country of Iran in search of freedom according to her families statements on a Facebook page set up to Free Ashtiani this move by the Iranian government does not effect the dozens of woman, men and childen who await the same sentence from behind bars in Iranian prisons.
Mohammad Mostafaei a human rights lawyer in Tehran who represented Ashtiani said he cannot understand how such a savage method of death can exist in the year 2010 or how an innocent woman could be taken from her son and daughter, who have written to the court pleading for their mother's life.
There are many more just like her who have condemned by courts that sentence Iranian citizens to death for crimes that in other countries would not draw attention much less condemnation to death by stoning.
The US State Department has also criticized the stoning, saying they raises serious concerns about human rights violations by the Iranian government. Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley says
"For a modern society such as Iran, we think this raises significant human rights concerns. From the United States' standpoint, we don't think putting women to death for adultery is an appropriate punishment." and most nations agree with the view.
Please Help Stop the Deaths by Stoning- Amnesty InternationalWitness shares experience of watching death by firing squad