Some 20 people gathered at a Jaffa café on Saturday to protest Iran's capital punishment policy, joining thousands around the world who held similar rallies. Iran is rated 2nd in the world in the number of citizens' executions it conducts, second only to China.
During the protest, held at the Dina café, a declaration was read out calling for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani and other Iranian prisoners awaiting the death sentence. A version of the statement was read out in more than 100 cities worldwide marking the international day against stoning in Iran.
Ashtinani was convicted of adultery after having sexual relations with two of her husband's murderers. Her sentence has been suspended following international protest.
Currently, 24 Iranians, mostly women, await the stoning death sentence.
Protestors in France (Photo: AFP)
The Jaffa event was organized by Elifelet, a left-wing activist from Tel Aviv who writes a blog about human rights in Iran. Elifelet said she was approached by the international organization against stoning in Iran and asked to arrange a meeting to raise awareness for the issue in Israel.
The event included a screening of the film The Stoning of Soraya M, which tells the story of an Iranian woman facing the death penalty. Participants were asked to write letters to Ashtiani.
Sarah, an Iranian Jewish woman residing in California who had left Iran 25 years ago was one of the people who wrote to Ashtiani. "The Iranian regime doesn't like Iranians, they’re terrorists," she told Ynet. Sarah also noted that from her memory, Jews lived peacefully alongside the Muslims in Iran and slammed the Ayatollah regime. "They only like Islam, they want the whole world to embrace Shiite Islam, that's their goal."
Meir Javedanfar, an Iran expert, spoke at the rally and explained that the heavy punishment given to women in Iran was aimed at crushing the opposition. "The regime was taken by surprise by women's role in the post-election protests and wants to prevent them from joining the opposition."
He also explained that 65% of university students in Iran were women and that universities were known as centers of anti-regime activities.
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