Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Appeal Letter: Stay or Cancel of Execution

Your Excellency,

We urge you to immediately cancel the execution of Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, two sisters from Khademabad, Iran who have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, in the name of Islam. We are concerned that such an unacceptable and inhumane punishment is being applied to women who have already had the sentence of 99 lashes imposed and executed and have been denied a fair and transparent trial.

We are gravely concerned that Zohreh and Azar have been sentenced to death for adultery. In Iran, women are punished more harshly than men for having committed adultery; this however directly contravenes article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides that “[a]ll persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.” In a speech delivered on 21 June, 2006 President Ahmadinejad stated that “the country should be built upon the basis of justice, kindness, serving the people, progress and lofty goals.” If Zohreh and Azar are executed, although punishment has already been carried out, then justice will certainly not have been served.

Furthermore, as a state party to the ICCPR, Iran has made an explicit and unreserved commitment under article 6(2) that if the death sentence is imposed it is to be “only for the most serious crimes.” The UN Human Rights Committee (in the case of Toonen v Australia) has made it clear that treating adultery and fornication as criminal offences does not comply with international human rights standards. Therefore the sentence of execution by stoning imposed on Zohreh and Azar Kabari breaches Iran’s commitments under the ICCPR.

We request that you stop the planned executions and take immediate action to remove death by stoning from the legal system.

Yours sincerely,

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