It looks like Iran’s Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death for adultery, might avoid stoning after all. Iran apparently has a human rights council (did you know that? I did not know that!), and some of its members are stating publicly that it looks like Ashtiani’s punishment might not be the ultimate. It must have been all those boobs …
But seriously, while this is certainly good news for Ashtiani and also perhaps some slight sign that Iran is demonstrating a shred …
… of investment in what the international world thinks of them (hey, I’m a Pollyanna), the issue does bring up some interesting issues about the topic that will never die—the death penalty.
Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men after the murder of her husband the year before. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress.
Iranian authorities then said she has also been convicted of involvement in the murder and could be executed by hanging
It wasn’t all that long ago that widowed women in America were considered inappropriate if they started dating after the death of their husbands. And look at Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (and I’m talking Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, not the dreadful movie with Demi Moore)—her husband was presumed dead, she was suddenly pregnant, and she was forced to show her shame to the world for eternity through wearing an A (for adultery, natch) on her dress for the rest of her life. Brutal.
But I realize that Iran’s is a culture I will never understand. Hell, I don’t understand what was done in the Salem Witch Trials under the guise of religion, and I’m descended from some of those peeps.
What I found most intriguing here was that the head of Iran’s Council of Human Rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, actually made some very interesting points regarding the death penalty—and, if you can get over the knee jerk reaction, it’s actually pretty relevant.
[Larijani] also criticized international media for their double standard, focusing on the Iranian judicial system and not mentioning such cases as an American woman executed in September for using sex and money to arrange for the killings of her husband and stepson.
“Nothing is said about the American woman, but there are lots of criticism regarding our judicial system,” and this shows “how biased, unrealistic and hypocritical and malicious” this media hype about Iran is.
Yeah, the thing is, the death penalty is most commonly used in the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. In fact, there are many countries that won’t extradite prisoners to the United States because of our use of the death penalty (nearly 1,000 put to death between 1976 and today).
I think that, whatever your view on the death penalty is, it’s noteworthy that the USA’s penal system is considered by some countries to be barbaric to the degree that they won’t allow prisoners’ death sentences to be carried out here. I certainly don’t equate lethal injection to stoning or hanging, but it’s certainly worth putting into the big picture.
Anyway, Larijani probably has good information considering that his brother, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, is “head of Iran’s judiciary,” so it’s looking a little bit better for Ashtiani (not that life in an Iranian prison is probably any sort of picnic).
What are your thoughts on this really very murky situation?