Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wed at 14, 'adulterous' girl, Azar Bagheri, awaits stoning

Iran refuses to enter the 21st century and stays hidebound to 7th century barbarity.  This is the same Iran Obama is willing to negotiate with without preconditions.  so Obama must approve the stoning to death of women.


Wed at 14, 'adulterous' girl, Azar Bagheri, awaits stoning

    * Hala Jaber
    * From: The Australian
    * July 12, 2010 12:00AM

SHE was only 14 when she was forced into marriage with an older man.

Yet within a year of her wedding, Azar Bagheri was charged with adultery and sentenced to be stoned to death.

The sentence could not be carried out until she was 18. So for the past four years, Ms Bagheri has been languishing on death row while the courts waited for her to reach maturity so she could be put to death.

According to Iranian human rights activist Mina Ahadi, Ms Bagheri was denounced by her husband, who accused her of committing adultery with two men.

Ms Ahadi said the teenager had been subjected to two mock stonings. On each occasion she was taken out of her cell and buried up to her shoulders in the yard of Tabriz prison, in northwest Iran, as if being prepared to be pelted to death with stones.

Ms Bagheri's lawyers are now planning to ask the judges to reduce her sentence to 99 lashes. Buoyed by an international campaign against Iran's death sentence for women convicted of adultery, they hope the court will show mercy.

After widespread condemnation of the sentence of stoning passed on another woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, the Iranians backed down last week. The Iranian embassy in London said that according to information from the judicial authorities in Tehran, the stoning of Ms Ashtiani would not go ahead.

But campaigners warned that Ms Ashtiani could still be executed by other means.

Amnesty International noted that three Iranians sentenced to death by stoning last year had been hanged instead.

"A mere change of the method of execution would not address the injustice," said Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Ms Ashtiani was sentenced in 2006 for having an "illicit relationship" with two men, for which she has already received a public flogging of 99 lashes. She was convicted of adultery even though she was a widow at the time -- her husband was killed before the alleged affair started.

Her family claims that during the trial of the two men accused of murdering her husband, another court found her guilty of adultery with the suspects, even though no evidence was given.

Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, said: "She has been waiting to be stoned to death for six years. She is having repetitive endless nightmares about death mixed with people stoning her."

Under Iran's penal code, adultery is the only crime punishable by stoning as an offence "against divine law". The death sentence may also be imposed for murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking, but offenders are usually hanged.

Stoning is intended to cause a slow and painful death. Iran's penal code states: "The size of the stone . . . shall not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws, and shall not be too small to be called a stone."