UPDATE: Iran: Mohammad Mostafaie seeks asylum in Norway and his wife is released from Evin prison
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. Mostafaei hopes that his wife and young daughter will be able to join him shortly in Norway.
The Judiciary in Iran still insists that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani committed murder and should be hanged for it. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mohammadi-Ashtiani said: "[The Iranian authorities are] lying. They are embarrassed by the international attention on my case and they are desperately trying to distract attention and confuse the media so that they can kill me in secret." On Thursday 5 August, Mossadegh Kahnemoui, a senior Iranian judicial official, told the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: "This lady, in addition to double adultery, is also found guilty of conspiracy to murder her husband."
Mohammadi Ashtiani said: "I was found guilty of adultery and was acquitted of murder, but the man who actually killed my husband was identified and imprisoned but he is not sentenced to death."
Mohammadi-Ashtiani added, "The answer is quite simple, it's because I'm a woman, it's because they think they can do anything to women in this country. It's because for them adultery is worse than murder – but not all kinds of adultery: an adulterous man might not even be imprisoned but an adulterous women is the end of the world for them. It's because I'm in a country where its women do not have the right to divorce their husbands and are deprived of their basic rights."
Mohammadi Ashtiani fears that the exile of her original lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, has made her more vulnerable. "They wanted to get rid of my lawyer so that they can easily accuse me of whatever they want without having him to speak out. If it was not for his attempts, I would have been stoned to death by now."
Describing life inside Tabriz prison, Mohammadi Ashtiani said she has been subject to constant mistreatment by prison guards. "Their words, the way they see me – an adulterous woman who should be stoned to death – is just like being stoned to death every day."
She thanked campaigners for highlighting her case and said international pressure was her only hope for release. "For all these years, they [the officials] have tried to put something in my mind, to convince me that I'm an adulterous woman, an irresponsible mother, a criminal but with the international support, once again I'm finding myself, my innocent self."
She pleaded: "Don't let them stone me in front of my son."
Please continue to support the WLUML/SKSW campaign for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani here: http://stop-stoning.org/node/1196