Iran: Holding lawyer’s family hostage for helping publicize Ashtiani stoning case


July 28, 2010

Ashtiani posts

Source: CNN

The previous posts on this case are nowhere to be found. I’ll post this and then go searching for the others. Don’t want to do everything all over again but this story needs to be told. First 2 posts combined – background, State Dept comments, Iranian Embassy denial. (links to the other posts there as well).

Sakineh Mohammedie Ashtiani (43) was to be stoned to death for a crime she did not commit and had already been punished for, including 99 lashes. Her son came forward to plead his mother’s case and he also sent a letter to Iranian officials requesting the stoning be stopped, which it was temporarily.

The final ruling on Ms Ashtiani’s fate: reinstate death sentence by stoning, execution via means (like beheading or hanging) or a reprieve, is due next week.

Read Ms Astiani’s words from prison.

According to CNN, on Saturday, while public demonstrations in favor of Ms Ashtiani were held in different countries (video), her lawyer, human rights attorney Mohammed Mostafaei, was undergoing a 4 hour “interrogation” in notorious Evin prison. After he released, he received a call to turn himself in. He didn’t. His wife and brother-in-law were taken hostage by Iranian officials hiding out in Mostafaei’s office – the two had gone to retrieve Mostafaei’s vehicle.

RUDI BAKHTIAR from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

The reason why Mr. Mostafaei is under fire is no doubt because of the worldwide attention concerning the Ashtiani case. And this is something the Iranian government does not like at all.

His wife and his brother in-law were picked up when they went to his office to get his car. The authorities were outside Mostafaei’s office waiting to arrest him. Instead they arrested his wife and his brother-in-law. Then they called his wife’s father and told him, ‘We will release them as soon as Mostafaei turns himself in.’

Other attorneys have been arrested similarly when they have tried to advocate for certain people. This is something the government of Iran has tried over and over again — to hush, using fear and intimidation tactics and also imprisoning anyone that they feel is threatening,

The Islamic Republic likes to keep their stoning cases and their executions very quiet.

Ms Bakhtiari appeared in the HBO Neda documentary ‘For Neda”. Worth watching.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

MINA AHADI, International Campaign Against Execution:

I think it is a very dangerous situation for Mr. Mostafaei. If he were to present himself to the authorities, he might receive 10 to 15 years in prison, and I think we must put pressure on the Islamic regime so that his wife and brother will be released.

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