by Laureen Harper and Heather Reisman
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was initially accused and convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. Now, she faces murder charges, which carries a death sentence by hanging, a fate that has marshalled women around the world to defend her rights and take up her cause.
As women who enjoy the benefits and protections of a democratic society that values and promotes the rights and freedoms of all its citizens—female and male—we are deeply troubled by the flagrant disregard of women’s rights in Iran. In particular, the most recent and public case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, is an affront to any sense of moral or human decency and is symbolic of the plight of Iranian women.
We urge you to take a progressive step towards improving the lives of Iranian women, mothers, daughters and sisters by unconditionally releasing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. There remains an unparalleled coalition of support around the world to keep the spotlight on the actions of the Iranian government and the status of women in Iran. We will continue to be vigilant to highlight this case and all other similar cases in Iran.
As mothers, sisters and daughters, we are gravely concerned about the unfair, undue legal processes faced by women in Iran. Repugnant sentences, such as death by stoning, are routinely rendered against women in Iran.
In Canada, women enjoy all the same benefits, rights and freedoms as men. But with these rights also comes responsibilities; and as such we are morally obligated to speak out publically in defence of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and indeed all women in Iran.
Once again, we strongly urge you to take the first step towards progress and unconditionally release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Certainly, this would be welcomed by women around the world as seen as a deeply symbolic gesture toward the betterment of all Iranian women.
Nov. 3, 2010