Press Release 61: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Sentenced to Another 99 Lashes!
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Sentenced to Another 99 Lashes!
According to an open letter published today, September 3rd, by Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, son of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, under the pretext of the publication in the London Times of a photo of a woman without Islamic hijab, Sakineh has been sentenced to 99 lashes on charges of spreading corruption and indecency.
On August 28, The Times mistakenly published a front page photo of a woman without Islamic hijab and attributed the image as that of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. However, the photo was actually of another woman, Mrs. Susan Hejrat, a political activist living in Sweden. The photo of Mrs. Hejrat had been published earlier on a website along with her article about Sakineh.
As soon as we became aware of the distribution of this picture by the London Times, and subsequently in the Aftonbladet newspaper in Sweden, we informed those publications that this picture in fact was not Sakineh. These papers have apologized to Susan Hejrat. The London Times, in its September 3rd issue, while correcting this mistake, also apologized to their readers for the error. They noted that this picture was obtained from Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei. The London Times also wrote that Mr. Mostafaei has claimed to have received the picture from Sajjad. Obviously this claim has no basis in fact whatsoever; furthermore, Sajjad has denied Mostafaei's claim in his letter. It is Mr. Mostafaei's responsibility to provide an explanation as to why he has disseminated counterfeit photo and information regarding Sakineh's case; his action has only led to increased pressure on Sakineh and her family.
We strongly condemn this barbaric new sentence of 99 lashes imposed by the Islamic Republic against Sakineh and we demand that this sentence be abandoned immediately.
We take this opportunity to ask the media to be more meticulous in their reporting on this case.
For the purposes of informing the public, we provide below the full text of Sajjad's letter of September 3, 2010.
International Committee against Stoning
International Committee against Execution
September 3, 2010
Open Letter 2 from Sajjad Ghaderzadeh
Regarding the latest developments in the case of my mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, I, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, inform you of the following:
1. On August 25, 2010, our lawyer visited Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. At his urging, the court requested the original files on our mother's case from Tabriz; as the case has now been referred to the Supreme Court for review, Tabriz no longer has jurisdiction in the case. For unknown reasons, Branch 9 has also requested the files concerning my father's murder; however, the original files on his murder case have disappeared from Branch 7 in Tabriz, and the copies, which had been on file with the Homicide Unit of the Oskou Police Department, are also missing. This has led to a suspension of the proceedings in her case. I conclude this part of my letter with gratitude to human rights defenders and I wish them success in their sacred cause.
2. Subsequent to the August 20, 2010 London Times interview with our lawyer, Mr. Javid Houtan Kian, he sent the Times a photo of my mother taken when she worked at Arghavan Day Care Center in the city of Oskou. The picture was supposed to have been published the following day in the London Times; due to lack of access to the publication, there was no way for us to know otherwise. For unknown reasons, the London Times published a picture of another woman without hijab instead of our mother's picture. We do not know how that picture was originally obtained, nor to whom the picture belongs.
As we have not been able to meet our mother since her television interview, according to information coming from those released from the women's ward last night, the publication of this picture has given the prison authorities an excuse to increase their harassment of our mother. My mother has been called in to see the judge in charge of prison misdemeanors and he has sentenced our helpless mother to 99 lashes on false charges of spreading corruption and indecency by disseminating this picture of a woman presumed to be her [Sakineh] without hijab.
Later, through conversations with informed people outside Iran, I was told that the above-referenced picture, which was published instead of our mother's picture, had been provided to the Times by our mother's former lawyer (Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei), who I nevertheless thank for all of his contributions. I wish that this were not true and that they were mistaken.
I would like to clarify that our mother's court-appointed lawyers, Mr. Sohrab Samangan and Mr. Zaré, could not defend her and on the contrary paved the way for the stoning sentence and then contributed to this cruel sentence being upheld. Due to their incompetence, we approached Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei and he agreed to defend our mother both on an individual basis and as a member of a team of lawyers after having received a heavy sum of 20 million rials. According to undoubtable documents, this sum was paid to a woman lawyer sent by Mr. Mostafaei.
As he did not make any effective legal or judicial efforts to save our mother's life, and did not take advantage of existing legal avenues, according to the document sent on 30th Khordad 1389, Mr.Mostafaei was dismissed by my mother. Unfortunately, we still hear about his deeds and commentary, which suggests his unintentional collusion with those who are bloodthirsty within the system. Although I still hope that what we hear is not correct, but, today, I announce to all advocates of human rights worldwide that honorable Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei only for a short while, and via a woman lawyer, had the responsibility of the defense of our mother in her stoning case, and this case is separate from my father's murder case. This means that he [Mr.Mostafaei] could not have been aware of files [of my father's case], their contents and subject, their dates nor the responsible branch, in order to make any comment about them.
Here we renew our gratitude and thankfulness to Mr. Mostafaei and humbly beg him not to make any further comments regarding our mother's file or our father's murder case to any authority or entity that is not confirmed by us.