UPDATE: Iran: Mokarrameh Ebrahimi released from prison!

We are delighted to announce the release of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and her son Ali from Choobin Prison, in Takistan, Qazvin, in Iran, where she has been awaiting execution by stoning for adultery for the past ten years.
On 17 March 2008 Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and her 4-year-old son were released from prison by the Iranian authorities in Tehran. Mokarrameh was sentenced to be stoned to death ten years ago, along with her partner, Jafar Kiani, who met his death on 5 July 2007. While in prison, she gave birth to their son Ali who remained in custody with his mother.

Mokarrameh’s release was the result of a long and difficult struggle by the Stop Stoning Forever (SSF) campaign in Iran, the commitment of her lawyer, Shadi Sadr, and the increasing pressure put upon the Iranian government by the international community. Another factor in Mokarrameh’s amnesty verdict may have been the fatwas (religious opinions) issued by three significant ayatollahs (clerics) in recent months. These fatwas all stated that stoning Mokarrameh to death would be against the shari’a.

For the time being, Mokarrameh has been discouraged from speaking to the media, but she and her son Ali are safe with her elder son and are staying with family, hoping to build a new, independent life for herself and her two sons.

Her case, along with others who face the same fate having been sentenced to death by stoning, has inspired the formation of the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (www.stop-stoning.org) last November, hosted by the Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network. The SKSW! campaign has been working closely with the Stop Stoning Forever campaign in Iran who were responsible in bringing the case of Mokarrameh and others in Iran to world attention from 2006.

Stoning, or lapidation, refers to a method of execution in which an organized group throws stones or rocks at the person they wish to execute. Although it takes many different forms, stoning has been used throughout history and in many religious and cultural traditions as a type of community justice or capital punishment. In Iran, as in the Sudan, stoning is codified into law for adultery. Although the Head of the Judiciary of Iran, Ayatollah Shahroudi, decreed in 2002 that stoning would no longer be practiced in Iran, the laws were never officially removed from the penal code and stoning sentences continue to be handed down by lower judges today. Although there are no official statistics, there are at least 8 women and 1 man who remain in prison in Iran, currently facing execution by stoning.

Stoning to death is a particular, but not exclusive focus of the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! We seek to end the relentless misuse of religion and culture to justify killing women as punishment for violating the imposed ‘norms’ of sexual behaviour around the world. The killing of women – under any pretext – is unacceptable and is a grave and serious violation of international human rights law.

For more information about Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! and the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign, please visit the following sites:

www.stop-stoning.org / www.stop-killing.org
www.meydaan.com (Farsi)
www.meydaan.com/english/default.aspx (English)

WLUML networkers