This weekend, Americans will be celebrating July 4th festivities with our friends and family in towns and neighborhoods where the injustices of oppressive political and cultural forces are, for the most part, studied in history class rather than experienced in daily life. Many women around the world, however, cannot even imagine the kind of freedom that we enjoy every day.
CNN reported today that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani has been sentenced to death by stoning for the crime of adultery in Iran. Ashtiani claims that she was forced to confess after she was lashed 99 times. Even after retracting her confession, the courts have refused to grant this woman clemency. In the Iranian courts the testimony of a woman is worth only half of a man’s.
“Article 74 of the Iranian penal code requires at least four witnesses — four men or three men and two women — for an adulterer to receive a stoning sentence, said Mina Ahadi, coordinator for the International Committee Against Stoning. But there were no witnesses in Ashtiani’s case. Often, said Ahadi, husbands turn wives in to get out of a marriage.”
The Iranian legal system must stop committing this horrible crime against women. We at IWF hope that Ashtiani and other women like her will receive clemency and we look forward to the day that the practice of stoning will be eradicated in the world. For more information about the subjection of Iranian women to legal injustice, check out IWF’s pieces on The Stoning of Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, Who Will Defend Iran’s Women?, The World Will Know – The Stoning of Soraya M.