Amnesty International: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's son and lawyer must be released

Amnesty International: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's son and lawyer must be released

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 4 / Trend T.Konyayeva /

The Iranian authorities should immediately release the lawyer and son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who is at risk of execution by stoning, if they are held solely for trying to pass on information about her case, the Amnesty International reported today.

"It is hard to see that Javid Houtan Kiyan and Sajjad Qaderzadeh have been arrested for any other reason than because they wanted to publicize Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's continuing plight and to save her life," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme. "If so, they are prisoners of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally, along with anyone else held for similar reasons."

The Iranian State Prosecutor, in his role as spokesperson for the judiciary, confirmed on Monday that Kiyan, had been arrested on Oct.10 and that he was still under investigation for links to "anti-revolutionary groups abroad".  He also said that Kiyan had been found in possession of three forged or duplicate ID cards.

Media reports have said that Kiyan was arrested along with Ghaderzadeh, the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, and two German nationals.The two German nationals appear to have been conducting an interview with Ghaderzadeh and Kiyan in the latter's office when all four were arrested, according to reports received by Amnesty International.

"We fear that Kiyan may have been detained for no more than fulfilling his responsibilities as Ashtiani's lawyer, and for talking to foreign nationals," Sahraoui said.

"His detention - part of the Iranian authorities ongoing targeting of defence lawyers - further undermines an already deeply flawed justice system which has failed Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani from the start.  She has been left for weeks without legal representation and without access to any family visits, which makes her situation all the more precarious."

The Iranian authorities have not confirmed either the arrest or the whereabouts of Ghaderzadeh.  Amnesty International has been unable to contact him since and believes he too has indeed been arrested.

The State Prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei confirmed on Oct.11 that two foreign nationals had been arrested.  On Nov.1 he said that the two Germans had been granted consular access.

On Oct.12 , Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said that the two German nationals had entered the country on tourist visas and had no journalistic accreditation, adding that they had been arrested because they had a link to a "foreign anti-revolution network".

"All those detained should be protected from torture or other ill-treatment, and granted immediate access to their families and to lawyers of their choice," Sahraoui said.

The Amnesty International's call came amid increased international concern for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Forty-three-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a mother of two, who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after her husband's killing a year earlier and was sentenced to 99 lashes.

In September 2010, she was sentenced to death by stoning for murder. According to Iran's General Prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Eje'i, this sentence is more of a priority than the penalty for adultery.

According to Shariat norms (Islamic legal, ethical and religious norms) Iranians convicted of adultery are sentenced to death by stoning.

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