Letter from Sakineh’s Son Sajjad: Gratitude for Supporters Around the World and Hard Questions for the Islamic Republic
July 7, 2010
To Mrs. Ahadi, her colleagues, and all of those in the USA, Germany and other countries who have endeavored to help those convicted on political grounds: Accept my greetings and gratitude.
I who write this letter, Sajjad Ghader-zade, 22 years old, want to first of all tell you about my mother and the way she was convicted.
My mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was arrested in the city of Oskoo on charges of adultery. She was prosecuted in the Oskoo criminal court. My mother and Mr. Naser and Mr. Ali Nojumiha were each sentenced to 99 lashes there, and the sentences were fully served at the executive office on everyone convicted in this case. Then as to why the case was sent to Branch VI of Eastern Azerbaijan retribution court in Tabriz for review, I have no idea. Here my mother’s case was reviewed by five judges, after which Mr. Imani, the head of Branch VI, and two of his colleagues, based on their own wisdom sentenced my mother to death by stoning, while two others found my mother innocent of the charges and stated this verdict clearly. Mr. Mostafayi (Sakineh’s lawyer) says there are a lot of uncertainties and doubts in this case. Mr. Mostafayi refers to two judges in the panel who clearly stated that there was neither evidence nor legal grounds whatsoever in the file to sentence Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, and the existing indications and evidence could not provide basis for any assumptions by the panel, and one accused should not stand trial twice on the same charge. The case was then sent to the Supreme Court, which unfortunately upheld the sentence. This was a summary of the case but I want to point out other uncertainties regarding the case. We have traveled more than 6 times to Tehran to visit Mr. Larijani, or Khamenei, or Ahmadi-Nezhad, and written more than a hundred times to them but have not received any response, so I have no option but reaching out to them this way. I want to ask the country’s authorities a few questions and hope they hear me.
First of all: Mr. Larijani! Why has an accused have been twice prosecuted on the same charge while even according to the Islamic criminal law a convict should be prosecuted for a crime once and not more than once?
Second: Mr. Larijani! You are the head of the country’s judiciary, how come the country’s judges do not take your orders seriously? Mr. Shahrudi had, in an amendment, ordered the country’s judges to ban stoning sentences, yet contrary to this order, judges still issue stoning sentences. Why, in our case for instance, did Mr. Imani, despite lack of evidence and proof, issue my mothers’ stoning sentence? If he is motivated by his wisdom, I must ask what the basis for that wisdom is. If he is demonstrating his wisdom, was Mr. Imani present when my mother committed the crime against which he issues a verdict with such decisiveness?
Third: When Mr. Mostafayi, via Mehr media outlet, interviewed Mr. Yusefi, the general director of Oskoo’s provincial justice department, the latter claimed that there was no sentence served in this case in Oskoo’s jurisdiction, but I was present when this was done. I ask the head of justice department why a judge like Yusefi, who himself issued a sentence, denies the execution of his own verdict?
These are three questions which should be answered. But I, as an Iranian citizen who has not succeeded to get an audience with your office, to you, the head of the judiciary, who through the TV networks day in and out announces that justice must prevail and the officials guilty of misconduct will be punished, say that there is no justice in this country, and your justice is only as just as the misconduct of judges of the country who are not corrected by you. I ask you: Has justice been served in my mother’s case? Can you answer to these three questions?
I ask you to send the letter of my mother’s pardon to Tabriz and return my mother’s life back to her. I hope that you see to it that justice in my mother’s case prevails, for thanks to your judges’ wisdom, my mother is in a bad psychological state, and in 5 whole years has been imprisoned without a day of permission [ed note – a day of leave from the prison].
I have now said all that should have been said; my mother and I are asking the people of the world to help us, and are deeply grateful for what has been done thus far.