'Help us save our mother': Pleas from the children of 'adulterous' Iranian woman who faces death by stoning
By Michael Theodoulou
An Iranian woman faces death by stoning after being convicted of adultery.
Amnesty International yesterday called on the Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution of mother-of-two Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and the hanging of another woman said to be a political activist.
Ashtiani was convicted of having an ‘illicit relationship’ with two men in May 2006 and received 99 lashes as her sentence.
Despite this, she has also been convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.
The 43-year-old has retracted a ‘confession’ she said was made under duress.
Appealing for help to the international community, her daughter, Farideh, 16, and son, Sajad, 20, said yesterday: ‘Please help end this nightmare and do not let it turn into a reality. Help us save our mother.’
Under Iran’s Islamic penal code, adultery is punishable by stoning to death or flogging, while hanging is the penalty for murder and other crimes such as drug trafficking.
Stoning sentences were widely carried out after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, but have been rare in recent years.
Men killed in this way are buried to the waist, while women are buried deeper, to stop the stones hitting their breasts.
If a prisoner manages to pull free during a stoning, he or she is acquitted or jailed, but is not executed. It is easier for a man to drag himself free because he is not buried so deeply.
In December 2008 a man convicted of adultery escaped death by stoning by dragging himself out of the pit he had been buried in for the punishment.
But two other alleged male adulterers were killed by the barbaric method in the same incident, which took place in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.
Iranian activists against stoning say it is not prescribed in the Koran.
Iran has the highest execution rate in the world.
Amnesty International has recorded 126 executions between January and June – among them five political prisoners.