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URGENT: Iran: Stop the Stoning to Death of Zohreh and Azar Kabiri!


The Women Living Under Muslim Laws international solidarity network, and the Global Campaign Stop Killing and Stoning Women! urges all concerned citizens to immediately contact the Iranian officials by phone and/or fax to request them to stop the scheduled stoning to death of Zohreh and Azar Kabiri in Iran.

Zohreh and Azar are two sisters from Khademabad, near Karaj, Iran. Both were arrested on February 5, 2007 due to allegations of adultery given by Sohreh’s husband. One month later, they were prosecuted in court, found guilty, and sentenced to 99 lashes. This sentence was executed but however, due to reasons unknown, both were returned to prison. Six months later, another prosecution took place for the same crime. This time, they were sentenced to death by stoning. The Supreme Court of Iran has confirmed this verdict. Both Zohreh Kabiri, 27 years old and Azar Kabiri, 28 years old, have been sentenced to stoning for adultery. Their sentence is awaiting execution. At their first trial, conducted in the absence of a defence attorney, the Judge interrogated the two sisters and unlawfully obtained a dubious confession for adultery. The women have reported that questions asked of them were manipulative and ambiguous and they had no idea as to the full consequences of their responses. The Judge then used these illegal confession and statements, along with his ‘instinct’ or ‘knowledge’ in order to justify a sentence of stoning for the defendants. Mr. Jabar Solati is currently representing the two sisters and hopes to save their lives. He is trying to stop these two sisters’ stoning verdict based on the fact that there was only one accused crime and that its sentence has already been executed.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We urge you to immediately contact the Iranian authorities and the embassies of Iran in your home country, via telephone and fax.

Sample Letter

Your Excellency,

I/we urge you to immediately cancel the execution of Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, two sisters from Khademabad, Iran who have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, in the name of Islam. We are concerned that such an unacceptable and inhumane punishment is being applied to women who have already had the sentence of 99 lashes imposed and executed and have been denied a fair and transparent trial.

The Global Campaign Stop Killng and Stoning Women! is gravely concerned that Zohreh and Azar have been sentenced to death for adultery. In Iran, women are punished more harshly than men for having committed adultery; this however directly contravenes article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides that “[a]ll persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.”

In a speech delivered on 21 June, 2006 President Ahmadinejad stated that “the country should be built upon the basis of justice, kindness, serving the people, progress and lofty goals.” If Zohreh and Azar are executed, although punishment has already been carried out, then justice will certainly not have been served. Furthermore, 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 “only for the most serious crimes.”

The UN Human Rights Committee (in the case of Toonen v Australia) has made it clear that treating adultery and fornication as criminal offences does not comply with international human rights standards. Therefore the sentence of execution by stoning imposed on Zohreh and Azar Kabari breaches Iran’s commitments under the ICCPR. We request that you stop the planned executions and take immediate action to remove death by stoning from the legal system.

Yours sincerely,

____________

 

Call for Action in French: http://wluml.org/french/actionsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[155]=i-155-560170

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1. The Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Khamenei

Tel: +98 21 64412020 Fax: +98 251 7774 2228

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran Email: info@leader.ir and istiftaa@wilayah.org

Salutation: Your Excellency

2. The Head of Judiciary: Ayatollah Shahroudi

Tel: +98-21 22741002 +98-21 22741003 +98-21 22741004 +98-21 22741005

Fax: + 98 21 3390 4986

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran irjpr@iranjudiciary.com and info@dadgostary-tehran.ir

Salutation: Your Excellency

3. The President: Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Tel: +98 21 88825071 +98 21 88825072 +98 21 88825073 +98 21 88825074 +98 21 88825075

Fax: Via foreign affairs: +98 21 6 674 790 and ask to be forwarded to His Excellency Ahmadinejad

The Presidency Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Salutation: His Excellency Please note that you may have difficulty contacting the officials inside Iran.

Please also contact the Iranian officials in your country of residence, for whom some telephone and fax numbers are listed below:

United States: Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C. Tel: +(202) 965-4990; (202) 965-4991; (202) 965-4992; (202) 965-4993; (202) 965-4994; (202) 965-4999 Fax: (202) 965-1073; (202) 965-4990

Canada: Embassy of Iran in Ottawa Tel: (613) 232-5712

United Kingdom: Embassy of Iran in London Tel: 0207-225-3000 Fax: 0207-589-4440

Switzerland: Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Switzerland, Geneva Tel: (41-22)332 21 00-21 Fax: (41-22)733 02 03

United Arab Emirates: Embassy of Iran in Abu Dhabi Tel: +9712-4447618 Fax: +9712-4448714

Denmark: Embassy of Iran in Copenhagen Tel: 3916-0003 Fax: 3916-0075 Norway: Embassy of Iran in Oslo Tel: (+47) 23 27 29 60 Fax: (+47) 22 55 49 19

Russia: Embassy of Iran in Moscow Tel: 9178655; 9179679; 9175219; 9177282; 9170039; 9172442; 9178959 Fax: 2302897; 9179683 Finland: Embassy of Iran Tel: +358-9-6869 240 Fax: +358-9-6869 2410

South Africa: Embassy of Iran Tel: +27 (012) 342 58 80 / 1 Fax: +27 (012) 342 18 78

Germany: Embassy of Iran in Frankfurt Tel: +49 (0) 69 56 000 739 - 740 Fax: +49 (0) 69 56 000 728 India: Embassy of Iran in New Delhi Tel: +91-11-23329600/ 01 / 02 Fax: +91-11-23325493

BACKGROUND:

Fight to Stop Stoning Sentence of Two Sisters Zohreh and Azar are two young sisters from Khademabad, near Karaj, Iran. Both were arrested on February 5, 2007 due to allegations of adultery given by Sohreh’s husband. One month later, they were prosecuted in court, found guilty, and sentenced to 99 lashes.

However, due to reasons unknown, both were returned to prison. Six months later, another prosecution took place for the same crime. This time, they were sentenced to death by stoning. The Supreme Court of Iran has confirmed this verdict. Both Zohreh Kabiri, 27 years old and Azar Kabiri, 28 years old, have been sentenced to stoning for adultery. Their sentence is awaiting execution. On a snowy day last month, attorney Jabar Solati met with the two women and became their counsel in the hopes of saving their lives from stoning.

The attorney’s effort not only excited the two clients, but their fellow inmates as well. Jabar Solati accepted to be these women’s lawyer because, as he says, he has strong hope to save their lives. Jabar Solati signed on to the case at a time when his clients’ verdicts were confirmed by the Supreme Court and were sent to the department for executions. With help from prison authorities, Mr.Solaty discovered that grave inaccuracies and mistakes in his clients’ files. Mr. Solati has asked for more time to explain the matter to the prosecutor, and requested approval from the prosecutor’s first deputy to temporarily stop the executions.

According to Mr. Solati’s statements, the stoning sentences resulted from allegations by Zohreh’s husband and a document that he had submitted to the court. The primary piece of evidence consisted of video footage that was taken by a secret camera hidden in an air duct. The initial verdict given by Branch 128 court in Karaj on 16th of March 2007 sentenced the women to 99 lashes. This verdict was confirmed and later executed. But for unknown reasons, the two women were kept in prison detention and in less than six months, were issued to court for a second time. In face, the second court tried the two sisters for a crime for which they were already prosecuted. Their previous sentence of 99 lashes has also already been carried out. Double-jeopardy is illegal in Iran.

Despite this, however, the two women were sentenced to stoning on the 5th of August 2007 for the crime of adultery. Mr. Solati is protesting this verdict and sentence. According to him, the verdict of the initial court is absolute and has been executed, therefore the verdict of the second court, according to law, is not acceptable. Mr Solati is also protesting the fact that he first trial was held without a defense attorney present. In that session the two women were charged and convicted without being issued a lawyer for their defense.

In the absence of a defense attorney, the Judge interrogated the two sisters and unlawfully obtained a dubious confession for adultery. The women have reported that questions asked of them were manipulative and ambiguous. They had no idea as to the full consequences of their responses. The Judge used these illegal confession and statements, along with his ‘instinct’ or ‘knowledge’ in order to justify a sentence of stoning for each defendant. The trial’s second session occurred with a defense lawyer present. Unfortunately, this particular lawyer did not protest the unlawful confession of the first session and did not defend his clients properly. Mr. Solati is currently representing the two sisters and hopes to save their lives. He is trying to stop these two sisters’ stoning verdict based on the fact that there was only one accused crime and that its sentence has already been executed. According to his statement, if there were indeed two crimes committed, there must be two separate trials with two separate indictments and processes.

According to Mr. Solati, the judge of the second trial did not notice the mistake in the case examination process. Mr.Solati is optimistic that the stoning sentence will be halted completely once the persecutor acknowledges these facts. Zohreh and Azar are both mothers; each has one child. According to Mehr news agency, Alireza Jamshidi, the Judiciary system spokesman, during his weekly press conference on the 15th of January 2008, gave the following statement concerning the stoning verdicts in Iran: “It is unfortunately that these unreal and tendentious reports were given to the UN and human rights organizations. They are absolutely false.”

Main resource in Farsi: http://www.iran-emrooz.net/index.php?/news1/15323/ and: http://www.meydaan.org/Showarticle.aspx?arid=453

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