Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, Iranian writer and human rights activist, was sentenced last week to six years in prison for writing a fictional story on stoning to death in Iran. The story was unpublished and was found by authorities at her home in Tehran.
She was ordered to begin serving her sentence for “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading propaganda against the system”.
According to an Amnesty International report, the young female writer was first detained and held in the section of Iran’s notorious Evin prison for 20 days without access to family, lawyer or court. She was interrogated and repeatedly told that she was going to face execution for insulting Islam. She was denied the right to mount a defense.
Philip Luther of Amnesty International described the charges against Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee as ludicrous and farcical.
Instead of imprisoning a young woman for peacefully exercising her human rights by expressing her opposition to stoning, the Iranian authorities should focus on abolishing this punishment, which amounts to torture. It is appalling that Iran continues to allow the use of stoning, and justifies it in the name of protecting morality.
Stoning to death is an ancient punishment sometimes used against women for adultery – which is considered a crime by the Islamic Penal Code.
Iranian authorities commented on the General Assembly report published last month on the situation in Iran, and the incidents of stoning.
They argued that criminalization of adultery is consistent with an interpretation of Islamic law and that stoning to death, which is outlined in sharia law, is “effective in deterring crimes and protecting morality”. They confirmed that in Iran judges can hand down the punishment of stoning on the basis of circumstantial evidence.