Bowing to international protests, the Iranian government is calling off the planned death by stoning of a mother of two for the crime of adultery.
However, it’s still too early to celebrate the good news for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, as the government has not said whether her death sentence has been suspended or if the woman will be executed by another, less controversial, method.
Ashtiani’s children, Sajad, 22, and Farideh, 17, have been attempting to raise an international hue and cry to stop the state-sponsored killing of their mother, who has been imprisoned for more than five years. Ashtiani confessed to the capital crime of adultery only after being lashed 99 times with a whip. Her trial was conducted in Farsi, a language she cannot speak, as she is member of the country’s Azerbaijani Turkish-speaking minority. There were no witnesses to her supposed crime, but a judge nonetheless found her guilty and condemned her to death.
Again, Ashtiani remains imprisoned and it is not clear if she will or will not be executed or even freed from jail. So continue to tweet, post to Facebook, sign petitions, and otherwise not let this case sink back into obscurity.
According to Amnesty International, Iran executed 388 people last year. The only country to execute more of its citizens? China.