Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in




December 20, 2004

Public Statement

CONTACT: press@wfafi.org


Save the two Iranian women who are facing death by stoning and execution
Boston, MA - Two women convicted of crimes against morality in Iran are facing imminent execution, one by being buried up to her chest and stoned, Amnesty International said last night. The fundamentalist regime of Iran is planning to stone Hajeh Esmailvand tomorrow (December 21st). Hajeh was initially sentenced to 5 years which was later annulled and changed to stoning by Iran’s Supreme Court. The other victim is a 19 year old mentally disabled girl, Leyla, who was forced into prostitution by her mother. Leyla has been sentenced to be flogged and executed for 'morality-related' offences
Hajeh is facing imminent stoning in the city of Jolfa and Leyla is facing execution in the city of Arak. They are guaranteed a slow, torturous death. Sometimes their children are forced to watch. No other government in the world practices stoning and public execution of women like the Iranian regime.
Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI) calls upon the international community and human rights organization to fight for Leyal and Hajeh's and stop Tehran’s regime from killing these women. Iran’s constitution does not offer women and young girls any protection or due process in the court. For this reason, WFAFI urgently calls upon Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, to intervene on Hajeh and Leyla’s behalf in an attempt to save them from this barbaric and torturous death. In addition, we call upon WFAFI’s supporters to support the Amnesty International Urgent Action Alert.
Enclosed, Amnesty International Urgent Action Alert: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/
Iran: One day left to save woman sentenced to be buried up to chest and stoned to death.
An Iranian woman charged with adultery faces death by stoning, reportedly by tomorrow (21 Dec) after her death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.
Her unnamed co-defendant is at risk of imminent execution by hanging. Amnesty International members are now faxing urgent appeals to the Iranian authorities, calling for the execution to be stopped.
According to reports, Hajieh Esmailvand was sentenced to five years imprisonment, to be followed by execution by stoning, for adultery with an unnamed man who at the time was a 17 year old minor. Although the exact date of her arrest and trial are not known, it is reported that she has been imprisoned in the town of Jolfa, in the north west of Iran, since January 2000.
The Iranian Penal Code is very specific about the manner of execution and types of stones which should be used. Article 102 states that men will be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. Article 104 states, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones".
All death sentences in Iran must be upheld by the Supreme Court before they can be carried out. In November 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Hajieh Esmailvand but changed the lower court's verdict from ‘death by hanging’ to ‘death by stoning’. Reports suggest that the Supreme Court has ordered that the remainder of Hajieh’s five year prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence can be carried out before 21 December.
Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:
"This is an urgent case. Hajieh could be killed tomorrow. Our members here in the UK are faxing the Iranian authorities, imploring them to stop this brutal execution. Campaigners in Iran are also taking action. But we need more people to stand up and be counted, to tell the Iranian authorities that this is not acceptable.
"Every day, thousands of women across the world face repression and violence, just because they are women. From the battlefield to the bedroom, women are at risk. Violence against women is a human rights atrocity and one we must tackle immediately."
The news follows reports of a 19-year old girl, 'Leyla M', who has a mental age of eight, reportedly facing imminent execution for "morality-related" offences in Iran after being forced into prostitution by her mother as a child. According to a Tehran newspaper report of 28 November, she was sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak and the sentence has now been passed to the Supreme Court for confirmation.
Leyla M was reportedly sentenced to death on charges of "acts contrary to chastity" by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives and giving birth to an illegitimate child. She is to be flogged before she is executed. She had apparently "confessed" to the charges.
Leyla was forced into prostitution by her mother when she was eight years old, according to the 28 November report, and was raped repeatedly thereafter. She gave birth to her first child when she was nine, and was sentenced to 100 lashes for prostitution at around the same time. At the age of 12, her family sold her to an Afghan man to become his "temporary wife". His mother became her new pimp, "selling her body without her consent". At the age of 14 she became pregnant again, and received a further 100 lashes, after which she was moved to a maternity ward to give birth to twins. After this “temporary marriage”, her family sold her again, to a 55-year-old man, married with two children, who had Leyla’s customers come to his house.
One in three women around the world suffer serious violence in their lifetime, at home, in the community or in war, just because they are women. Amnesty International is running a global campaign to Stop Violence Against Women. The human rights organization is calling on governments to repeal laws that permit and encourage violence against women, and on communities to challenge attitudes that allow violence to continue.
Amnesty International is aware of at least one case in which a sentence of execution by stoning has reportedly been issued this year. According to a report on 8 January 2004 in the Iran newspaper, a criminal court in the city of Qazvin sentenced an unnamed man to 80 lashes and 10 years'’ imprisonment to be followed by execution by stoning. It is not known whether this sentence has been carried out.
Amnesty International believes that the death penalty is the most extreme form of torture. It is a cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is clear that the punishment of stoning is designed to cause the victim grievous pain before leading to death. Such methods of execution specifically designed to increase the suffering of victims are of particular concern to Amnesty International, as the most extreme and cruel form of torture.
Take action to stop the executions of Hajieh and Leyla M...





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