Iranian women ‘in slavery’: stoning woman’s lawyer

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 14, 2010 14:41 EDT
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Iranian women have been forced into slavery, the former lawyer for Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the Iranian woman facing death by stoning, said Thursday.

“In Iran unfortunately one could say women are in a real situation of slavery,” Mohammad Mostafaie, who fled Iran for Norway last July, told the European Parliament’s human rights committee.

Iran “is one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, with deaths by stoning, executions of minors aged under 18 and amputations,” he said.

Mostafaie fled Iran when Tehran issued an arrest warrant against him at the end of July.

“Women and children are tortured,” he told the committee. “When a country fails to respect the rights of its own citizens, it won’t respect the right of any other country.”

Mostafaie called for political and economic sanctions against Iran, saying its oil wealth enabled it to pay for repressive police action.

Iran this week arrested two Germans who interviewed the son of Ashtiani, public prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie told local media on Monday.

A rights group said on Monday it feared Ashtiani’s current lawyer Javid Houtan Kian had also been arrested.

Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was sentenced to death by two different courts in the northwestern city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

The first death sentence, by hanging, for her involvement in the murder of her husband, was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

But the second, by stoning, was on a charge of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband’s murder, and was upheld by another appeals court the same year.

Since July Iranian officials have said repeatedly that the stoning sentence has been stayed, in the face of an international outcry that has seen strong representations by the French and Italian governments as well as the Vatican.

But a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters on September 28 that “the judicial process has not yet finished and the final judgement will be announced after the end of the process.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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