Avid readers of Today’s Lady News have no doubt been following the story of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman who has been sentenced to death for adultery. Ashtiani is accused of cheating on her husband and then conspiring to have him killed; she was sentenced to 99 lashes, which she’s received, and death by stoning. After an international outcry that death by stoning was too cruel, Iran changed the sentence to death by hanging. However, her lawyer also fled Iran to Norway in fear when he learned the government planned to arrest him.
Carla Bruni, the First Lady of France and a musician/model/actress who was known for her colorful sexual escapades before she married President Nicolas Sarkozy, has spoken up for Ashtiani and said no one should be murdered for their sexual behavior. Earlier this week, a state-run newspaper in Iran called Bruni a “prostitute” and then said she “deserves to die” for supporting an “adulteress.”The situation for Ashtiani continues to get more grim: recently she was forced to appear on state-run TV and impugn herself and last weekend Ashtiani was told she would be hanged at dawn on Sunday and then subjected to a “mock execution.” Apparently the purpose was to kill her spirit by terrifying her and stop her from communicating with her two children, who are vocal with the press about their mother’s death sentence. “They are furious with the international outcry over my mother’s case so they are taking revenge on her,” said her 22-year-old son, Sajad.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken up to say she is troubled by Ashtiani’s case, although I imagine it is difficult for her to take a stand from a diplomatic standpoint because the United States also uses the death penalty. Nevertheless, I continue to hope the best for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her family. You can read more about this case from Amnesty International.