Iranian Woman’s Stoning Sentence Delayed

The Associated Press

Move over, balloon boy. The newest story to face outrageous media coverage and subsequent fervor from those who have become engrossed in it is the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning in Tehran. In fact, the case has been rousing an international uproar from people like Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel Peace Winner Shirin Ebadi, and French president and First Lady Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni that such campaigning has helped to bring about a crusade for saving the forty-three year old woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was convicted of adultery in July.

FILE - This undated file image made available by Amnesty International in London on Thursday, July 8, 2010, shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran on charges of adultery. Ashtiani is now facing a new punishment of 99 lashes because a British newspaper ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as her, the woman's son said Monday. (AP Photo/Amnesty International, File)** EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO SALES**

Though Ashtiani, who is currently having her stoning sentence reviewed by the Iranian Supreme Court after global pressure and criticism, awaits possible execution, she has not left the headlines. According to reports, Ashtiani was convicted of an “illicit relationship” with two men in 2006 just after her husband was murdered the previous year, a murder in which she is suspected to have participated in. An August claim showed a woman identified as Ashtiani confess about being an accomplice. However, her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, says she was probably just tortured into confessing. Beyond that, Ashtiani appears to have been flogged 99 times by authorities in Iran, following a British newspaper running a picture of an unveiled woman who, reports are now saying, was mistakenly identified as her.

Regardless, the Iranian stoning sentence is at the center of a human rights issue that questions the brutality of the punishment. In support of Ashtiani’s freedom, French foreign prime minister Bernard Kouchner has called her stoning sentence “barbaric” and stated that he would go to Tehran to save her, if he needed to. French First Lady Carla Bruni was labeled a prostitute by Iranian media after she signed a petition along with other celebrities to save Ashtiani. Yet, Iran has cut warring words with human rights activists. Despite the support for her stoning sentence to be lifted, Iranian Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehm anparast says the West is sensationalizing the case into something political and unreasonable while Iran is simply following legal protocol: “Western nations must not pressurize and hype the case up. Judicial cases have precise procedures, especially when it concerns murder. If releasing all those who have committed murder is to be perceived as a human rights issue, then all European countries should release all the murderers in their countries.” As of now, the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is yet to be determined.