Saturday, 21 August 2010

IMHRO condemn forcing Sakineh Ashtiani to confess on state TV

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



The Iranian government forced Sakineh Ashtiani to confess to murdering her husband and adultery on TV and have sentenced her to death by stoning. She pleaded guilty to these charges.

Her confession was broadcast on state TV in Iran just one week after her interview with The Guardian newspaper[i], where she said that authorities in Iran were lying about her charges and that they wanted to execute her in secret.

Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, had to escape from Iran after he was threatened by the Iranian security service. Since they couldn’t locate him, they arrested his brother and his wife instead.

IMHRO suggests that such confessions are all taken under torture and have no value at all. The Iranian government have broadcast many confessions since 1979 and we know that many are tortured.

IMHRO demands from the Iranian government the release of Sakineh Ashtiani, an Azeri woman, along with other Azeri prisoners. She already suffered inhumane punishment of ninety lashes; the injustice needs to be stopped now.

An interesting point is that she could not speak Farsi and her confession was in the language of Azeri, thus showing that Farsi is not a national language in Iran.

Azeri, like Kurds, Arabs, Baluch and Turkmen, are forced to be educated in Farsi/Persian. Anyone speaking in their mother tongue could suffer disciplinary actions and even being sent to prison.


Sakineh Ashtiani was an Azeri woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for murdering her husband and having a boyfriend, however, she denied the allegations.

Azeri is the largest ethnic group in Iran with around 30 million people. Azeri’s who speak Turkish is banned from studying in their mother tongue and many of their cultural activists are in prison.

Azeri is heavily suppressed by the Iranian security service. Azeri political parties’ are banned and political activists are tortured in prison. Many Azeri political activists are killed under torture.

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