August 12, 2010

NIAC Condemns Alleged Torture of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American strongly condemns the alleged torture of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to elicit a false confession for state television.  NIAC calls on the Iranian government to comply with its international human rights obligations and to suspend Ashtiani’s death sentence, as well as the sentences of all other Iranians who have been tortured to elicit false confessions or who have otherwise not been provided fair trials.

NIAC welcomes the strong statements issued by the international community regarding Ashtiani’s situation, including recent remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on Iran to halt Ashtiani’s execution.

“The Iranian-American community abhors the continued human rights abuses being carried out by the Iranian government against its citizens,” said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director.  “Just one month ago, international scrutiny of these abuses helped earn Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani a reprieve from the cruel practice of death by stoning.  But now it appears she continues to face abuse at the hands of authorities and her fate remains uncertain. It is critical that the international community not relent in calling Iran to respect its human rights obligations.”

Ashtiani was previously sentenced to execution by stoning, but international scrutiny led Iranian authorities to repeal the stoning sentence. Her fate, however, remains uncertain and the confession that was broadcast on Iranian state television yesterday suggests that authorities may be moving forward with Ashtiani’s execution. Ashtiani was reportedly severely beaten and tortured for two days prior to her confession. Some Iranian authorities have stated that Ashtiani’s stoning execution sentence can be reinstated given her supposed confession. When first convicted of adultery and sentenced to stoning in 2006, Ashtiani said that her confession was extracted under duress and retracted it.   

Ashtiani’s case has been carried out without transparency or regard for due process written into Iran’s own constitution. Moreover, Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, whose work in other similar cases has repeatedly questioned the Iranian judicial system, was forced to flee to Norwary and is seeking asylum. Mostafaei was subject to interrogation and his wife and brother-in-law were arbitrarily detained in an effort to intimidate and detain the lawyer.




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