Free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Dear Editor,

I write about the case of Iranian woman prisoner Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. I am a longtime friend and supporter of the Iranian people and their struggle. In the time of the Shah I wrote letters and articles, spoke at meetings and joined many protests against his repressive regime and supported the resistance. Later, I defended Iran against the attacks of the USA, Britain, Israel and other Western powers.

Despite my great dislike of religious regimes and being a firm advocate for Kurdish rights, during the Iraqi aggression against Iran, I spoke out and supported Iran. I have also praised the principled support that Iran has given to the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian resistance in their just struggle against Israel.

But while the Iranian government has some good anti-imperialist foreign policies, within the country its human rights record is deplorable and its treatment of the Kurdish people, other ethnic and religious minorities, dissident groups and women has been appalling. I have often expressed my opposition to this repression.

Like many others I am very distressed about the dreadful human rights situation in Iran and the abuse of political and other prisoners, including the case of Sakineh Ashtiani. I write to express my utter disgust at the awful treatment of her. Ashtiani has spent five years in prison and received 99 lashes for alleged adultery, after the death of her husband. This is a very harsh and grossly excessive sentence for such an offense, without Sakineh Ashtiani as well having been condemned to death for this “transgression”. Sakineh Ashtiani has already suffered so much and her continued imprisonment is totally unjust and the threat of execution should be ended.

This is a very bad law. It is vital that people demand that laws in Iran and elsewhere be compassionate and that civil and human rights be upheld. The death penalty is difficult to justify anytime, but for such a “crime” as adultery, or in the case of political prisoners for protesting, it is simply absolutely wrong and must be loudly opposed.

I ask people to write or ring the Iranian Embassy and urge them end the punishment of Sakineh Ashtiani and to respect her human rights and to do the just and sensible thing and release her. And also urge an end to the mistreatment and executions of other prisoners. Hopefully friendly nations can offer asylum and help to swiftly alleviate this dire situation and save the life of Ashtiani. Add your voice to this worthy campaign and together we can make a difference.

Yours, sincerely,
Steven Katsineris,
Hurstbridge, Victoria