Sakineh Must Not Be Stoned To Death!

2010/08/07

Published in German daily “Hamburger Abendblatt” on 7 August 2010
Source (German): http://www.abendblatt.de/hamburg/von-mensch-zu-mensch/article1592235/Sakineh-darf-nicht-gesteinigt-werden.html

4500 women, members of the Zonta Club in Germany, have now joined the campaign against the stoning sentence for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

By Heike Mundzeck
For several weeks now, the Western press has been discussing a case that in the 21st century seems unfathomable. An Iranian widow and mother of two was sentenced to death by stoning – for alleged “adulterous relationships with two men”, a crime for which “eyewitnesses” – according to Iranian law a prerequisite for issuing a verdict – have not been found until today.

In 2006, 43 year old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been punished for this very “crime” with 99 lashes, but has been kept in detention since. Although the execution of her stoning sentence was suspended due to international protests, her death sentence was by no means annulled.

Initiated by the Zonta Club “Hamburg-Alster”, more than 4500 women from all 130 German Zonta Clubs of the union have now issued a letter of protest to the Iranian authorities, demanding that Ashtiani’s death sentence be lifted, and calling for a fair trial for the defendant. Furthermore, the “Union of German Zonta Clubs” calls to abolition of the death penalty by stoning as a punishment for adultery. Also, they protest against consensual sexual contacts to be regarded as crimes.

In the past 31 years, more than 100 people – women and men – were stoned to death, most of them for adultery. More than 20 people in Iranian prisons are still facing death by stoning.

The Zonta Clubs act on local as well as international levels. The goal of this union of working women from 66 countries is to improve the situation of women throughout the world by providing services and defending their rights. Zonta gives non-material as well as financial help. “We have to send a signal against mistreatment and torture of women, and for their right to participate in the society and lead a self-determined life”, it says in the resolution for the current initiative on Iran, issued by the board of ZC “Hamburg-Alster”.

On a global level, Zonta International in cooperation with the United Nations is working to abolish violence against women. For example, Zonta supports a project against acid attacks on women in Cambodia, Uganda, and Nepal.

“We consider ourselves responsible to take action wherever action is needed – beyond limits of churches, political parties and state authorities”, Zonta “Hamburg-Alster” describes the goals of the Zonta projects.

To individually support a petition for Sakineh, a widow and mother of two children, and prevent this inhumane death sentence, please refer to http://amnesty.de/ or http://avaaz.org/ for further information.

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