Friday, November 12, 2010

Help free imprisoned Iranian women

from the Feminist Majority Foundation

Women and women's rights activists continue to be threatened in Iran. Right now, two women need your help. Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been on a dry hunger strike (no food or water) for more than a week while protesting her imprisonment. Sakineh Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death by stoning after an adultery conviction, is facing imminent possible execution by hanging.

Sotoudeh, who defended many political activists and campaigners in Iran's presidential elections last year, has been held in Tehran's Evin Prison since September 4, when she was arrested and charged with "acting against state security" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic." She is in grave physical condition as a result of the dry hunger strike. Sotoudeh has been refusing food and water to protest the intolerable conditions of prison and the improper investigation of her case. Activists are concerned she will soon fall into a coma or die.

Ashtiani was scheduled to be executed by hanging last Wednesday, but her execution was suspended. According to Iranian officials, her file is "under review," but the regime has been known to execute people whose files were under review in the past. Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having extramarital relations with two men who killed her husband. While she initially received a sentence of 99 lashes for adultery, during an appeal of her case, the court sentenced Ashtiani to death by stoning. This sentence has since been commuted to death by hanging. Her case has caused international outrage due to the inconclusive evidence presented and the barbaric nature of execution by stoning.

Please voice your support for these Iranian women as they struggle to overcome the flagrant disregard for the rule of law displayed by Iran's authorities and the barbarity of this execution sentence.

Indecencies to human rights and to women's rights in Iran, cannot be tolerated. Take a minute to express your solidarity with women in Iran. Your action is needed to save Nasrin Sotoudeh and Sakineh Ashtiani's lives.

For Women's Lives,
Eleanor Smeal
Feminist Majority Foundation
P.S. Your support and emails have helped in the past and these courageous Iranian women need your help again. Please send an email to help Nasrin Sotoudeh and Sakineh Ashtiani.

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