Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 40-year-old Iranian citizen, is facing death by stoning for allegedly having sex with two men who murdered her husband. In a last minute effort to save their mother, her two children issued a letter to world citizens requesting they press Tehran authorities to retract the sentence.
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Ashtiani, a resident of Tabriz in Iran's northwest,
has been imprisoned for five years. She was initially sentenced to 99 floggings for extra-marital sex. Her sentenced was later changed to death by stoning in accordance with Sharia laws stipulating that punishment for adultery is death by either hanging or stoning.
In their letter, which was distributed via the internet, Fasride and Sajjad Mohamamadi Ashtiani expressed their hope that waves of protest around the world, particularly by Iranian expatriates would lead authorities to retract the brutal punishment. "Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother. We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear," the letter stated. It was distributed in nine languages, including Hebrew.
The mother's lawyer, Attorney Mohammad Mostafaei, said that the sentence is scheduled to be implemented soon and noted he recently met with his client and spoke to her about the punishment. "She is naturally in poor spirits. Whoever faces a death sentence goes crazy in a situation such as this."
The lawyer expressed hope that international pressure and appeals for a pardon would help rescue Ashtiani. "Unfortunately, no progress has been thus made. I hope the letters sent to the judicial authority would help and she will receive a pardon," he said.
Iran's penal law stipulates that women sentenced to stoning are buried up to their chest and then pelted with small stones until they die. The law forbids the use of stones which may cause instant death.