Iran has reportedly arrested the lawyer and the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, as well as two “foreign nationals” who interviewed her family. Ashtiani is still set to be stoned to death for adultery. In the meantime, Iran continues to mix Sharia law with old-fashioned totalitarian repression.
The stoning has been delayed after global criticism. The Iranians are still debating whether to show “mercy” by hanging her.
Iranian public prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie stated that the Islamic Republic was “suspicious about the manner of questioning” of the two foreigners and found that they lacked proper papers.
The German-based International Committees against Execution and Stonings said that its founder Mina Ahadi was on the phone with Ashtiani’s son Sajjad and her lawyer Javid Houtan Kian as they were being interviewed by journalists on Sunday. She heard shouting and then the phone went dead.
For civil liberties lawyers in the West, the arrest of lawyer Javid Houtan Kian is a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of our counterparts in other parts of the world. Likewise, her son has continued to fight for his mother despite the constant threats from the authorities. Unfortunately, the Iranians have confined the debate over the means, not the end, of the sentence for Ashtiani.