Since our last update on the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, and her former attorney Mohammad Mostafaei, there have been a few important developments: Mostafaei, who had fled to Turkey after the arrest of his wife and brother in-law in Tehran, was arrested by the Turkish authorities and placed in a detention centre. He has been released, and is now in Norway seeking asylum. Although the brother in-law was released shortly after his arrest, Mostafaei’s wife, Fereshteh Halimi, continued to be held at Evin prison. However, on Saturday 7 August, Halimi was also released from prison.
Les principales mesures gouvernementales pour lutter contre l’insécurité apparaissent largement plébiscitées par les Français, recueillant entre 55% et 89% d’opinions favorables selon les propositions, selon un sondage Ifop pour le Figaro publié jeudi. Le consensus semble transcender assez largement les tranches d’âge, appartenances socio-professionnelles ou préférences politiques affichées. Le sondage a été réalisé sur un échantillon de 1.003 personnes, représentatif de la population française âgée de 18 ans et plus, selon la méthode des quotas. Les interviews ont eu lieu par questionnaire auto-administré en ligne entre le 3 et 5 août.
"I was the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and I had the right to defend her," Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei says of the case that has drawn international attention. Mostafaei was defending Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery when Iranian officials jailed his wife, her brother, and his father-in-law in an apparent attempt to pressure him to back down. In his first interview after fleeing Iran and surfacing in Turkey, Mostafaei talked to RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari, condemning the Iranian judiciary for taking his wife "hostage" and vowing that he will never surrender to Iranian authorities. He also talked about the circumstances under which he was forced to escape Iran and leave his family, including his 7-year-old daughter, behind. (Mostafaei was reportedly taken into custody by Turkish authorities and the UN's refugee agency has said he should be allowed to apply for asylum.)
Mohammad Mostafaie, a human rights defender and lawyer of Sakineh Ashtiani, the woman whose sentence to death by stoning in Iran in June received worldwide public attention, has been arrested and detained by Turkish authorities. On 24 July 2010, his wife, Fereshteh Halimi and brother in law, Farhad Halimi, were arrested and are now detained at the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. Prior to their arrest, Mostafaie was invited for interrogation and subsequently released by the police but was immediately ordered to be arrested again.
The most widely mentioned text in Israel over the last few weeks has been the famous quotation by Pastor Martin Niemöller from 1946, which begins: "First they came for the Communists". Cited by journalists, politicians and academics, or by commenting readers on websites (known in Hebrew as "the talkbackists"), the quotation serves to communicate one idea: the increasing persecution of Palestinian citizens has led to verbal threats against Jewish radical left activists, and is now directed at proposed laws against Zionist-left activists, university professors, journalists, artists and others. The warning from the quotation is clear: "Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
This is an update to the January 2010 WLUML Statement on charges against Imrana Jalal: Women Living Under Muslim Laws warmly welcomes the July 30th decision by Justice Priyantha Fernando of the Fiji High Court to stay the remaining charge against Fijian human rights lawyer and longtime WLUML networker Imrana Jalal. Along with the rest of the international human rights movement, WLUML will now be closely watching the treatment of Justice Priyantha Fernando to make sure that he is not subject to adverse consequences of any kind for his appropriate ruling in this case. We note that according to the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, “it is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.”
Honourable Chair of Iran Bar Association, Honourable members of the management committee, You are aware that on Saturday 2nd Mordad 1389 (24th July 2010) the security forces invaded the offices of Mr. Mohammad Mostafaei, one of the most active human rights lawyers in Iran, but could not find him. A few hours later they arrested his wife and brother-in-law in front of his office and took them to the Evin Prison. The investigator at Revolutionary Court in Evin prison has told them that they will stay in prison until Mr. Mostafaei gives himself up.
Since the recent controversy surrounding the French government’s ban on total face coverings (burqa or niqab), the head scarf issue has once again attracted the world’s attention. Indeed, only very few Muslim women cover their face completely, which is a reflection of the attitude preached by Sayed al Tantawi, an imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, who boldly stated that total face coverings are not in accordance with Islamic teachings. It is therefore not surprising that the education ministry in Syria, a Muslim majority country, has also issued a ban on niqab in all state and private universities.
The vote by the Spanish Senate to ban the use of Burqa by Muslim women no doubt has sent multiple signals across the globe and in particular the Muslim world. The vote which was a narrow one, 131 to 129, in favour of the ban is part of the trend sweeping through Europe in the last few years.