Iran Halts Ordered Stoning Death

Azadeh Pourzand, Contributing WriterLast Modified: 14:38 PM EDT, 17 September 2010

IRAN - The saga of the 43-year-old Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was facing punishment by stoning to death for adultery, continues. After sustained international pressure, the Iranian authorities have backed down and the woman will not be executed by stoning to death.  Although a victory by women and human rights activist, Sakineh remains sentenced to death by a potentially alternate but equally heinous manner.  View CNN video coverage here.

Azadeh Pourzand is a student of Master in Public Policy with a concentration in International and Global Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In 2007, she received an Honors BA degree in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College in Ohio. She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and moved to the United States in the last year of high school. She currently lives, works and studies in Cambridge, MA.

A letter about Stoning to Death By Azadeh Pourzand

A few weeks ago my mother, Mehrangiz Kar, wrote an article about stoning to death in Iran. She received many different feedbacks for her article that was published in Farsi. Among those responses we found an astonishing letter from an anonymous person whose mother was stoned to death twenty six years ago. Since the strength of the words of this letter paralyzed my body and mind for a few minutes, I decided to quickly translate the text.

According to Article 83 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, stoning to death has been declared a permissible punishment for a few different types of adultery.

stoning to death.jpg Hello.

I read your recent article about stoning to death.

Reading your article reminded me of the bleeding bruises in my heart once again.

You wrote about murdering by stoning?

Have you ever held a bloody tool in your hands with which they have murdered your mother?

Have you ever touched the bloody skin and hair of your mother who has just been killed in a deep hole?

Have you ever followed the line of your mother’s blood in order to find her corpse thrown at the back of a truck?

Have you ever seen the fresh grave of that dearest being with a small piece of paper on which they have written her name wrapped around a small branch of tree?

Has anyone ever said a word about the children of the people who have been stoned to death?

I was fourteen and now I am forty.

To quote psychologists, I am one of the most fortunate people on this planet. I am fortunate, because despite this contempt in my life I have been able to continue my higher education and find myself a wife, children and a credible job without letting a single black spot remain in my life.

Do you even understand what it means to be the child of a person who has been shamefully stoned to death?

If Islamic clerics tell you that you could not win over the Islamic laws, they have, indeed told you the truth.

My mother used to tell me that she had become a sex-worker in order to feed us and to support us. She used to command us in being real men. She used to tell us to stand on our own feet and to never lose our hope in Ali (the first imam in shiasm).

Seriously who would want to sell her body, to sell her sex to anonymous men except for those women who have no other way of feeding their children?

If the husband knows how to make money, the wife and the mother of the family does not have to go and seek customers.

The economic situation needs to improve and single mothers or those mothers whose husbands do not have the ability or the willpower to work, should be able to seek help from the government.

You must establish an organization for supporting these women. It does not have to be a very rich organization in the beginning.

No one has the right to condemn you for seeking financial support from different sources for these types of support organizations.

Women like my mother who was eventually stoned to death need your help. They need the world’s help and support. Their forgotten families, too, need the world’s help.

Help them!

Executing people for having not immoral actions is not going to have an effective result.

Tell me how many people have been executed and stoned to death since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in Iran…What is the result of all of this violence other than the fact that the evil is now truly dominating our society?

I never forget the last words of my mother’s Islamic judge:

“I issued a verdict for stoning this woman to death so that other individuals learn a lesson from her doomed fate and avoid sins of such nature. To execute by shooting would not have made her suffer enough!”

Alas. Twenty six years ago my mother was stoned to death before my eyes. Has these women’s tragic fate helped our society improve? Statistics show that the rates of prostitution and corruption have increased exponentially.

God bless you!

Reprinted with permission.