Can Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Be Saved?

Before NASA rushes to expand its horizons to include reaching out to Muslims (see Doug Powers article over at as ordered by the President (or is it Ayatollah now?), it might be more productive to stop and realize just who we’re getting into bed with. Literally.

While we were celebrating our independence here in America over the weekend, a mother of two is expected to be executed soon in Iran, in as horrific a fashion as one can imagine. It’s a death sentence ordered by the Muslim judicial system, stuck on 14th century barbarism.

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani

42 year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to be stoned to death, could have her execution carried out at any time.  She had been interrogated in 2006 for her husband’s murder. In May of that year,  branch 101 of the Criminal Court of Oskoo in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan (in northwestern Iran) sentenced Sakineh to 99 lashes for committing adultery even though there was no proof or evidence to support it.  She reported that she was forced into making a confession during the punishment. This is not an uncommon event according to prominent human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei (who, himself, is at risk for torture due to his efforts regarding human rights and amnesty in Iran).

Regardless, Ashtiani was lashed 99  times, a horribly painful experience and one that scars you both physically and mentally for life.

Four months after her lashing, a different court (branch 6 of the Criminal Court of Azerbaijan) sentenced Ashtiani to death by stoning for the same offense.

According to the web site Women Living Under Muslim Laws:

Sakineh’s case, like others pertaining to stoning, has some serious errors and objectionable problems. For example, two of the five judges, Kazemi and Hamdollahi, presiding over the case in branch 6 of the provincial Criminal Court, believed in her acquittal.

In an interview with Rooz, Mohammad Mostafaei, Sakineh’s laywer, stated, “When two, or even one of the magistrates presiding over a case in the Criminal Court, believe in an acquittal and find errors in the presented evidence, then the defendant should not be sentenced to death. When the life of a human being is in question, there must be more hesitation and contemplation. One’s life should not be taken away so easily or be subjected to [excruciating] death.”

But apparently three out of the five Muslim judges disagreed. According to the Islamic Penal Code, four fair witnesses are required to have seen the act first-hand, in full, and from close up. In this case there are no witnesses, but that does not matter to the judges: without the four witnesses required, they still imposed the sentence of death by stones.


The execution is done in barbaric fashion as described by Amnesty International: The woman is bound and covered with a shroud. She is then buried up to her upper chest so she cannot move and her head  is exposed. At that point, small rocks – small enough not to kill on their own, but large enough to inflict horrific pain, are hurled at her until, eventually, she dies from accumulative wounds.

Her two children have turned their appeal to the world. In an open letter, they write:

Today, we stretch out our hands to the whole world. It is now five years that we have lived in fear and in horror, deprived of motherly love. Is the world so cruel that it can watch this catastrophe and do nothing about it?

We resort to the people of the world, no matter who you are and where in the world you live. Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother…

We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear.

What You Can Do To Help Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani:

While several amnesty groups are trying to save Sakineh, their efforts may fall on deaf ears unless those with the power to stop the execution see how much support there is for amnesty throughout the world.

But time is absolutely of the essence. If you would like to help push for amnesty in what is clearly a case of barbarism, please click HERE and follow the instructions. Political and public pressure is about all Sakineh has left to hope for.

Gerry Ashley

10 Responses to Can Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Be Saved?

  1. DAYA says:


    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Perhaps so, Daya, but none of that is of much comfort to Sakineh at the moment. I hope you will click on the link that takes you to a page where you can quickly and easily send an e-mail on behalf of her, showing that she has the support of the civilized world. Only this kind of pressure may save her at this point.

      I urge all who read this to consider doing so. Imagine if it were your mother or daughter in her position. It’s unthinkable to have a country in the 21st century imposing this kind of brutality to its own citizens, especially when there was no evidence… just the coerced confession, obtained while she was being lashed 99 times.

      It only takes a few moments out of our day to do something that could save her life. With that opportunity to (hopefully) make a difference, how can we turn our backs on her and still face ourselves?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stoutcat. Stoutcat said: RT @grandrants: Another day, another death by stoning. Only in Iran: #tcot […]

  3. Adrian says:

    I just responded. If everybody comes together we can probably save this woman. This is just cruel. Here is a sample of what I sent out:

    Please read below. My name is Adrian Gonzalez from the United States. I am touched by the fact that this woman is to be stoned to death for crimes which there are no proof of. How can humans be so cruel? She is a mother not to mention there is no proof that she is guilty of the crime she is being sentenced for. I dont even know this woman and I have been touched by this. You do this all in the name of our creator? Are you kidding me? This is cruel and a disregard for human kind. I dont know if this email will make a difference, but I want you all to remember this. One day ALL OF YOU will have to answer to a higher authority and hopefully you wont have to answer the question “Why did you play a part in killing an innocent woman in a brutal way”. Hopefully you all change your minds and grant this woman amnesty. If not I can’t wait until the day that God comes to rid the world of all it’s evils and get rid or people like yourselves, people who are hungry for power and do these terrible things. Whether it’s Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, whatever his name is he is up there and he will come some day and all of human kind will have to answer. Read the letter below written by this lady’s children. If this doesn’t touch you, you aren’t human:

    Then I copied and pasted her kids letter.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thank you. I hope there are lots more like you. If people come together, Sakineh will have a voice. Without us, her voice will be silenced.

  4. amnestyusa says:

    Amnesty International USA has started an online action on this case. Please visit to take action and submit an appeal to the Supreme Leader of Iran and the head of the Iranian judiciary to ask that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s death sentence not be carried out!

  5. Ashuley says:

    As I read her story, I really feel sad about it. We don’t have any right to do that kind of brutal punishment to a person who is not proven guilty about the crime. I’m hoping that this message could help her in the future. Let’s pray for God’s guidance in her life. To the Iranian government, I’m hoping that you will listen to your conscience. I remember the story of Mary Magdalene in the bible. They also tried to stone her to death but our Lord Jesus Christ told the people that if they haven’t committed any sin then just get a stone and throws it with her. No one could stone her because they all know that all people sinned. If we will connect this story with the life of Asthiani it is the same. I pray that she could have an amnesty. May God bless you all…

  6. You need to add a facebook button to your blog. I just tweeted this post, but had to do it manually. Just my $.02 🙂

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