Responding to the appeal launched by French intellectual and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, Bruni wrote to Ashtiani to say that President Nicolas Sarkozy was trying to save her says Le Figaro
. “Please know from within your cell that my husband will plead ceaselessly for your release and that France will not abandon you.”
“How can I remain silent after learning of the sentence which has been pronounced against you?” asked Bruni, in reference to the court’s judgment ordering her to be stoned to death. …Your eyes, full of pain and dignity, your forehead, your mind, your spirit…transformed into targets for stone throwers, to be pulverized to pieces….I just can’t see what good could come out of this macabre ceremony, whatever the judicial reasons put forward to justify it. Shed your blood and deprive children of their mother, why? Because you have lived, because you have loved, because you’re a woman and because you’re Iranian? Everything within me refuses to accept this.”
The Socialist Ségolène Royal has also written a letter in which she observes that “There where the dignity of women is murdered, crushed, and annihilated, is there where the whole of humanity takes a step backwards…..When a woman is used as an expiatory victim and enslaved for the crime of having been born a woman, all men and women who know that this obscurantism will lead to even more unhappiness must stand up and be counted.”
Ex-president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing also denounced her condemnation in a letter which addressed Iranian authorities, qualifying it as representing “..a practice which constitutes an attack on human dignity. The punishment that you want to inflict on Sakineh is taking us back to the obscure ages of humanity. I consider that the grand Persian culture which contributed so much to human civilization deserves better than this.”
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, admitted – under torture according to her lawyer – that she had had « illegal relationships » of the sort which, in Iran, carry the sentence of death by lapidation as laid down by the Sharia in the interpretation of it which is used in the Iranian justice system. The sentence is contained in Article 86 of the country’s Penal Code.
The International Committee against Lapidation claims that 150 lapidations have been carried out in Iran since 1979. Amnesty International estimates that three men and eight women are currently awaiting this fate in Iranian prisons.