The global protest on July 24, 2010 – International Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Day – was unquestionably a success as a milestone in our campaign to “save Sakineh.” We turned out in over 30 cities across the globe and made the world stand still for Sakineh and all of those facing similar oppression in Iran – and there are many.
At the same time, we have learned that Sajjad, Sakineh’s son, has not been heard from for days. We have learned that Mohammad Mostafaei, Sakineh’s lawyer, has a warrant out for his arrest and the regime has detained his wife and his brother-in-law.
Our work together – the work of the organizations* that led Sakineh’s campaign, and the work of each and every individual or organization that helped our campaign to become the most effective single source of political pressure against the criminal Islamic regime of Iran in the past 31 years – is hitting the Islamic regime where it hurts most. Our work together aims directly at the heart of the regime’s dependence on killing, hanging, and stoning people in order to silence the voices of oppressed people, to force them off of the streets where they had gone in protest, and thereby maintain the regime’s reign of terror over people in Iran.
— Together, we forced the Islamic Republic back from what it had intended to do. This is something no government has ever been able to accomplish; but together, we did this.
— Together, we forced our governments to condemn the Islamic Republic for its barbaric treatment of women, specifically Sakineh – the very same governments that had shamelessly handed a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women to the gender-apartheidist Islamic regime.
We have done a good job. And now we must increase the pressure further still.
Sakineh could still be executed at a moment’s notice, and the lives of Sakineh’s children Sajjad and Farideh, as well as the lives of Sakineh’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, his wife, and his brother-in-law, all hang quite literally in the balance. Mr. Mostafaei, like many other honorable lawyers in Iran, has taken the gravest of risks by standing firm and resolute in the face of the black and bloody maw of the regime and speaking truth, demanding justice.
We should do no less. We must keep the pressure on the regime for Sakineh, for Mostafaei, for their families, and for all those living under the terror of the Islamic Republic of Iran. So we press on, aware of what we have accomplished, and in full knowledge that we can and must do even more.
The next steps of our campaign for Sakineh involve the following:
Maintaining the demand of freedom for Sakineh. This means that:
– we increase our efforts to circulate the major petitions demanding Sakineh’s freedom;
– we increase our efforts to hold creative public protests in Sakineh’s name to raise awareness and intensify the pressure on the regime; and
– we continue to pressure our governments to formally condemn the Islamic Republic for its barbaric treatment of Sakineh Ashtiani, Azar Bagheri, Zeynab Jalalian, and many others. We will tailor our objectives specifically to the current position that each targeted government holds towards the Islamic Republic on these issues, and we will demand political action.
Remember that Sakineh represents herself, but Sakineh also represents an entire generation of women in Iran forced to submit to the inhumanity, terror, and humiliation of living under the Islamic Republic, in the hell that the Islamic Republic has created for women in Iran. When we fight for Sakineh, we fight for justice for all women in Iran.
Articulating a new set of demands: freedom for Mostafaei’s family, and allowing Mostafaei a free hand to perform his duties as one of Sakineh’s legal representatives without harassment or intimidation. This means that:
– we coordinate with professional law associations internationally to make them aware of Mostafaei’s situation and ask them to formally and in writing demand his immediate and unconditional release;
– we circulate a petition for Mostafaei and his family;
– we implement a letter-writing campaign to foreign ministries and State Departments, articulating the above set of demands.
We will not allow the regime to silence Mostafaei and terrorize his family in this way. Iranian lawyers should be able to freely represent their clients without fear of harassment and intimidation of themselves or their loved ones.
We now have the regime on the defensive; it is time to intensify our efforts in order to maintain the gains we have made. Together, we have already changed the world with our efforts on behalf of Sakineh, but there is more to do. Let’s keep going to free Sakineh and finish the job that we came to do: stop stoning and executions in Iran altogether.
In the coming days, Mission Free Iran will roll out the above-listed campaign materials for Mostafaei, and we will ask for your help with coordinating some of the campaign activities for Sakineh and Mostafaei, as well as other cases.
Mission Free Iran
July 27, 2010
* The organizations that led the campaign to save Sakineh Ashtiani are the International Committee against Execution, Mission Free Iran, International Committee against Stoning, and Iran Solidarity.