August 16, 2010
Iran can’t seem to decide what they are going to do with Ms Ashtiani. The final verdict on how she is to be executed was due last week. It’s what they promised Ms Ashtiani and her children. But Mostafaei’s flight, detention and asylum posed major problems for Iran since they had been holding his wife hostage – who Mostafaei said was being tortured. So Iran forced Ms Ashtiani to go on TV and denounce Mostafaei as if that was going to improve matters. They also made her say that she was involved in her husband’s murder when the prosecutors had already found her innocent and the murderer is in prison.
Who does Iran think believes such obvious propaganda…other than the Muslim countries who have been absolutely silent?
According to the following press release, Ms Ashtiani was beaten to “encourage” her TV “confession”. Which may explain why what little of her face that was visible was pixilated in the video.
Press release from Save Sakineh Campaign follows.
Final verdict once more postponed
Ms Ashtiani put under pressure to confess on TV
On Saturday Ms Ashtiani’s lawyer Houtan Kian was at a hearing at the High Court in Tehran. The fact that Ms Ashtiani had applied for divorce from her husband was discussed. She had already been given a written confirmation from the court that she and her husband had *irreconcilable differences. The court has requested to see the original document. Again, the court has postponed a final verdict in her case and the next appointment has been set for this Saturday, 21 August.
On Friday afternoon Iranian state TV broadcast another programme about Ms Ashtiani in which they stated that she will not be executed during the month of Ramadan. Despite this statement, Ms Ashtiani’s family and ICAS are extremely concerned. On Friday 13 August three people were publicly executed in Asna. We also received news yesterday that 70 people were executed in Mashad.
According to information received by ICAS, Ms Ashtiani was put under pressure and beaten in prison so that she would agree to confess on TV. Nobakht, the Tabriz prosecutor, visited Ms Ashtiani in prison and had suggested to her that he would try to save her from execution if she appeared on TV and confessed to sex outside of marriage and to having been involved in her husband’s murder.
We know from experience that the Islamic regime has put other prisoners under pressure to confess on TV with the promise of saving them from execution. Two or three days after the TV confession, the Islamic regime executed them nevertheless.
These developments are very worrying. Ms Ashtiani’s situation is getting more precarious and her execution is becoming ever more probable. By postponing a final verdict yet again, the Islamic regime is trying to buy time. It is waiting for the international protests, pressure and news coverage to abate and to then execute Ms Ashtiani.
We have to continue our international movement and protests to free Sakine. We are calling on governments to intensify their efforts to save Sakine Ashtiani. This is not only a fight for Sakine’s life but also a fight against stoning in Iran.
* The document of confirmation of irreconcilable differences is a first step towards getting a divorce in a country where women don’t have the automatic right to divorce and can only be granted a divorce in very exceptional cases.