This is the first photo of Sajjad, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s 22 year old son. He is with Houtan Kian, Sakineh’s lawyer. This photo may be used without permission. Credit, however, must be given to the International Committee against Stoning. A new handwritten letter from Sajjad in Persian follows; the English translation appears below the letter.
Dear Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban-ki Moon,
I salute you and your colleagues. More power to you all.
I hope you will listen to what I humbly present to you in this letter.
My name is Sajad Ghaderzadeh. I am the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. I know that my mother’s name is by now familiar to you. I also know that you are aware that she has been sentenced to death by stoning by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Since my mother’s sentencing we have been trying to contact the authorities of the Islamic Republic but to no avail. However, as the Iranian President is planned to deliver a speech at the General Assembly I am writing this letter hoping that you allow it to be read to the representatives of all the states. I implore you to do this for the sake of my mother as well as all others sentenced to stoning by the Islamic Republic. My hope is that through allowing this letter to be read to the heads of state, including the Iranian President, the punishment of stoning will be uprooted in Iran, my innocent mother be freed, and this will bring elation and pride to you and your colleagues.
What I have to say here is about my innocent mother who has spent the past five years behind bars in the hand of the Islamic Republic while no one in this government, especially from its judiciary, has given us any proper accounts.
I want everyone, especially Dr. Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, to know that my father’s murder case has nothing whatsoever to do with my mother’s stoning case. My father’s murderer [Mr. Isa Taheri] was, as a matter of fact, forgiven and freed by me and my sister due to our humanity and our hatred for death penalty as well as for Qesaas [the Islamic code of punishment]. The murder case was thus pronounced closed. [Besides,] it was initially reviewed separately from her stoning case in a different court at a different branch of the judiciary.
Here I have to urge you to please note that the house and the office of our lawyer, Mr. Hootan Kian, were raided and his computer, all his files, including my mother’s, and some of his other belongings were taken. Consequently, we are now appealing to that esteemed institution [the United Nations] for non-material support of the world, especially that of the governments, to save my mother’s life as well as to protect my only sister, Mr. Kian, our lawyer, and myself from dangers that threaten our lives.
I should stipulate that I have tried very hard to meet with the President of Iran but to no avail. So I have to reach him in this way. [In response] he may say that the case does not pertain to him but to the judiciary. And I will reply that as far as we are concerned the Iranian judiciary has to this point delivered nothing but lies and falsities.
I should also point out to Dr. Ahmadinejad that we have been treated most iniquitously not only by the Islamic Republic but also by its television – like, generally, its entire media – that have broadcast fake interviews with my mother. Those interviews have been extracted under conditions of extreme physical pressure and psychological as well as moral coercion, caused by using our own family which has, for reasons relevant to the Iranian culture, has disowned us. At first Mr. [Mohammad Javad] Larijani, Secretary of the High Council for Human Rights of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic, called my mother a murderer in Shargh newspaper, and lately Mr. Kazemzadeh, Secretary of North-Western District of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, has felt at liberty to interview my mother on television.
An officer of Human Rights who defends stoning and spreads false information about the accused is, evidently, not familiar with his duties.
There is no agreement to be seen between statements made by Messrs. Larijani and Kazemzadeh on various websites after my mother’s interview. But, looking closely, you will see that [before the interview] Mr. Kazemzadeh dragged my mother to the television interview in just the way Mr. Larijani had suggested through one of the media.
I hereby declare that all official statements issued by the Islamic Republic, including those by its High Council of Human Rights, are false and my mother’s stoning sentence is still standing. The sentence has not been cancelled but, as a result of our lawyer’s appeal of 7 July 2010, just stayed.
Here I would like to inform Dr. Ahmadinejad of the inconsistencies and ambiguities in my mother’s case so that he may become aware of the mistakes made by the judiciary.
The judge in the murder case and Mr. Sharifi, the head of judiciary of Tabriz, both have stated in an interview that my mother has committed several crimes, but they cannot reveal the matter [i.e., which crimes,] to the media due to considerations of Islamic proprieties. Now, what I want to ask is, given the same considerations above, how come my mother’s case has been disclosed by Mr. Kazemzadeh in not only all the press media but also on television with my mother’s picture clearly shown?
Further, my mother has never had any prison background, while Mr. Isa Taheri [my father’s murderer], as you may investigate and find out, has so far committed three murders. However, as it is, the Islamic Republic has set him free and attributed everything to my mother. But they should know that they cannot stone or hang an innocent woman with lies and fabrications.
My mother’s stoning sentence has been handed down by two judges in Tabriz, Messrs. Amini-Shadbash and Moosavi, on the basis of their ‘knowledge’. [In addition,] the official written statement of sentencing says that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has had adulterous relationships with strange men, but there is no mention of the names of these strange men so we can know such mutual relationships have existed.
As for the statements made by the judiciary, the fact that my mother has already received the punishment of 99 lashes is completely missing from these statements. More importantly, there is no mention of my mother’s latest confessions in which she had said she had lied about everything previously.
Whenever questioned [about this case] the authorities of the Islamic Republic have responded with saying that the judges are independent. In view of the track record of the Iranian judiciary, it is, indeed, tough to believe such a claim. The question is: what are your judges independent in doing? In taking a human being’s life? In sentencing men and women to stoning for no reason? Mr. Larijani [Secretary of the High Council of Human Rights of the Judiciary] actually defends stoning saying it exists in Islamic Sharia Law. But I ask all the states in the world to show us an Aya anywhere in the Glorious Qoran which says men and women should be stoned to death. [Even if it does and] it is true, it says it should be done based on testimony of witnesses as well as evidence, and not the ‘knowledge’ of the judges of the Islamic Republic.
O you who defend Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan, why do you not have any sense of responsibility toward your own people?
In closing, I thank all governments, Dr. Ahmadinejad, and the United Nations. I hope what I had to say will be considered noteworthy.
I hereby request the honorable President of Iran to act most expeditiously and unconditionally to free my mother. I hope the punishment of stoning will not be inflicted in this country based on the judges’ ‘knowledge’; and be wiped off the Iranian law altogether.
I thank you, Mr. Secretary General, and all heads of state very much.