No, not a reference to football this time, nor a reference to the violence at the student protests. This is a slightly different, more important post.
The Times newspaper and other organisations have been campaigning on behalf of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian lady who was tried and acquitted of murder, but jailed for adultery and given 99 lashes and sentenced to death by stoning. The person who murdered her husband is free from prison despite being convicted of murder. When this situation received worldwide attention, the Iranians threatened her lawyer who had to flee Iran. They then re tried Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for the murder she was acquitted of and convicted her and sentenced her to death (AGAIN). This from a country that claims to protect the oppressed.
Oh and for good measures, her new lawyer and members of her family were arrested for daring to speak to the foreign press about the case.
Today, the Times as part of its campaign published a letter signed by many celebrities. See this press release from Associated Press
Celebrities call for release of Iran stoning woman
(AP) – 10 hours ago
LONDON (AP) — Celebrities including Robert Redford, Robert de Niro, and Sting have called on Iran to release a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
In an open letter published Monday, more than 80 actors, artists, musicians, academics and politicians said that “Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has suffered enough.”
Signatories include actor Colin Firth, artist Damien Hirst, Nobel literature laureates Wole Soyinka and V.S. Naipaul, British opposition leader Ed Miliband and former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner. They say Ashtiani has already spent five years in prison and received 99 lashes.
They called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release her along with her son and lawyer, who are also imprisoned.
The letter was published on the front page of The Times of London newspaper.
Ashtiani, 43, was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men after the murder of her husband the year before and was sentenced at that time to 99 lashes. She was later convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned.
Iran also says she has confessed to complicity in her husband’s murder.
After coming under intense demands from Western politicians and rights groups to free Ashtiani, Iran put her stoning sentence for adultery on hold in July for review by the country’s supreme court.
Stoning was widely imposed in the years following the 1979 Islamic revolution, and even though Iran’s judiciary still regularly hands down such sentences, they are often converted to other punishments. The last known stoning was carried out in 2007
Now, why is this an own goal you ask. Well, one of the signatories is The Who guitarist Pete Townsend. Yes, the same Pete Townsend who was cautioned after being arrested in the Operation Ore child pornography arrests. The same Pete Townsend who admitted viewing child pornography and was cautioned by the police for this offence.
Yes, a person who admits and was cautioned for child pornography and had to sign on the sex offenders register – a person in common parlance who is a nonce. This is a person telling the Iranians how to treat their prisoners. I can imagine the capital at home and abroad those behind the evil regime in Iran will make about this.
What happens in Stoning?
In stoning to death, the victims’ hands are tied behind their backs and their bodies are put in a cloth sack. Then, this human “package” is buried in a hole, with only the victims heads showing above the ground. If it’s a woman, she is buried up to her shoulders. This is to give her a seemingly equal (but nonetheless impossible) chance to escape recognizing her lesser physical strength.
After the hapless individual has been secured in the hole, people start chanting “Allah hu Akbar” (meaning, God is great), and throw palm sized stones at the head of the victim from a certain distance (a circle is drawn).
The stones are thrown until the person dies or until he/she escapes out of the hole and crosses the circle. Escaping is impossible, given that the individual’s hands are tied behind their backs and they are buried in a hole up to their necks or shoulders (in the case of males and females respectively).
Naturally, the procedure is extremely barbaric and bloody.