London Times’ apology re: miscaptioning photo “Sakineh Ashtiani”

Sept 6, 2010

Ashtiani/stoning posts
MFI: Ms Ashtiani has already been relashed

Here is the Times of London’s apology for the miscaptioning of Sakineh Ashtiani in a photo (above) that was really SUSAN HEJRAT, an exiled Iranian living in Sweden.

What is The Times’ responsibility towards Ms Ashtiani?

Had they not miscaptioned the photo, Ms Ashtiani would not have been sentenced to 99 more lashes.

And, really, does this look anything like a woman who has lived her entire life in Iran, the last 4 in an Iranian prison?

This is from the drafts so I will have to check if any further action was taken by The Times.

Today’s BBC story

Full text follows

TIMES APOLOGY (Martin Fletcher) via Mission Free Iran


A woman identified as Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in The Times last week was the victim of mistaken identity. The photograph printed was not of Ms Ashtiani but of Susan Hejrat, an Iranian exile who lives in Sweden and sits on the central committee of the Hekmanist [sic] party, a breakaway faction of Iran’s Communist party.

It was given to The Times in good faith by Mohammed Mostafaei, who was Ms Ashtiani’s lawyer in Tehran until he was forced to flee Iran this summer for publicising her plight. He was responding to a request for a fresh picture of her.

Mr Mostafaei said yesterday that Ms Ashtiani’s son, Sajad, 22, had e-mailed him two photographs three months ago and told him both were of his mother. One was the widely used picture of Ms Ashtiani with her face obscured by a chador, and the other was the one used by The Times on Saturday. That showed the full face of a woman. Mr Mostafaei said he had visited Ms Ashtiani in prison only once while representing her and he had been unable to see her full face because it was concealed behind her chador.

The Times could not contact Ms Ashtiani’s son last night, but Ahmad Fatemi of the International Committee against Stoning suggested a possible explanation, saying Ms Hejrat wrote a short article on Ms Ashtiani last month, with her own picture appended.

The Times apologises for the error.


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