Thanks to the locals who are raising awareness of Iran’s Sakineh, the Iranian mother of two condemned for adultery. She has been imprisoned since 2006 ‘for having an illicit relationship’ with two men, according to freesakineh.org/ and there are currently 219,571 signatures calling for her immediate release.
Last Saturday – August 28 – 110 cities around the world rallied and organised events for ‘100 World Cities Against Stoning Action Day’. Byron Bay was also involved through activist Harsha Prabhu and friends.
August 28 coincided with the date Sakineh was informed by authorities that she would be executed. So far there is no word on what has happened. According to www.stopstonningnow. com/wpress/ ‘there has been no news concerning the completion of this death sentence. It seems that the Islamic Republic, while under immense international pressure, wanted to give the impression that it would not bow to world public opinion.’
In her country, the penalties for such actions are horrendous and unjustifiable. Death by stoning violates any and all definitions of human rights, but it still continues throughout parts of the Middle East and Africa.
The countries that participate, according to www.stop-stoning. org are Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria (about one-third of the 36 states), Pakistan, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
‘Some of these countries have since repealed the law of stoning,’ it says. ‘While the penalty has never been carried out in Nigeria, or by the state in either Pakistan or Iraq, incidents of stoning have been carried out by communities, seemingly encouraged by the existence of the punishment in law.’
In Iran, ‘Rajm’ is an Arabic word that means to stone, and refers to the traditional Islamic Hudud punishment. Hudud punishments are considered to be ‘claims of God,’ and include theft, fornication, consumption of alcohol, and apostasy.
This highlights the barbaric, primitive and dangerous nature of religious fundamentalism.
The website concludes with ‘Culture is not static, but constantly re-created and re-defined by the various interests of groups in positions of power in a society at any given time. There is no excuse for the killing of women. Murder is a brutal violation of the most basic human right – the right to life – and any practice which harms women or impinges upon their agency and autonomy contradicts fundamental rights, such as the right to security; the right to freedom from violence; from inhuman, degrading treatment and punishment; from terror;
the right to choose a marriage partner; and the right to not face discrimination under the law. No‘culture’ has the right to kill and harm women based on their perceptions of morality or honour. The freedom of belief does not mean freedom to kill. Stoning is a brutal example of how culture and religion are being misused to perpetuate violence against women.’
These sentiments are are hard to refute – at least our culture has thankfully progressed past the stone age.
The petition can be signed at http://freesakineh.org/ and more information found at http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/