Ensure best practices of due process and rights to a fair trial are protected in case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

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From: اسمك <you@example.com>
To: wluml@wluml.org
CC: info@dadsetani.ir, bia.judi@yahoo.com, info@humanrights-iran.ir, info@dadsara.ir, info@dadiran.ir
Subject: Ensure best practices of due process and rights to a fair trial are protected in case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Your Honour

I am deeply concerned over the continued denial of human rights in Iran in light of the Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani case. On 15 May 2006, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of having an âillicit relationshipâ with two men and was sentenced to 99 lashes by Branch 101 of the Criminal Court of Osku, in East Azerbaijan Province. Then, in a September 2006 trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, Mohammadi Ashtiani was once again accused of committing âfornication while married.â During this trial, she retracted the âconfessionâ she supposedly made during pre-trial interrogation, alleging that she had confessed under duress, and declared her innocence.

The government of Iran should ensure transparency around this case, which has become a matter of public and international concern, and should lift the restrictions on the media in Iran reporting on this case.

Furthermore, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should ensure that best practices of due process and the rights to a fair trial are protected in all cases, and especially those punishable by the death penalty. As a state party to the ICCPR, Iran has made an explicit and unreserved commitment under article 6(2) that if the death sentence is imposed it is to be âonly for the most serious crimes.â Under international law, consensual sexual acts such as those criminalized by Iranian law under the provisions of adultery do not amount to the âmost serious crimesâ for which the death penalty may be imposed as an âexceptional measure.â In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions. Iran was among the minority of states that voted against the resolution.

In light of the mishandling of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtianiâs case file, which has apparently disappeared, and the conflicting reports surrounding her status, the courts should clearly explicate both the sentence and the process leading to the final judgement. According to Section 11 Article 166 of the constitution of Iran, âthe verdicts of courts must be well reasoned out and documented with reference to the articles and principles of the law in accordance with which they are delivered.â

According to Amnesty International, the Iranian State Prosecutor, in his role as spokesperson for the judiciary, confirmed on 1 November 2010 that Mohammadi Ashtianiâs lawyer, Javid Houtan Kiyan, had been arrested on October 10 and that he was still under investigation for links to âanti-revolutionary groups abroadâ. He also said that Kiyan had been found in possession of three forged or duplicate ID cards. The courts should ensure that the confusion surrounding the case of Mohammadi Ashtiani is not replicated in that of Javid Houtan Kiyan.

The Iranian authorities had not confirmed either the arrest or the whereabouts of Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, but it is more than likely that he too is being detained. It is likely that Kiyan and Ghaderzadeh are being held as a result of their campaigning on the Mohammadi Ashtiani case, and should thus be released.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should provide information on the whereabouts of Mohammadi Ashtianiâs son Sajjad Ghaderzadeh. If he is being detained, the government should make the charges being brought against him known, and ensure he has access to a lawyer of his choice. Article 14 of the ICCPR states that in the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing; and

(c) To be tried without undue delay.

Yours sincerely,

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