Mina Ahadi and the International Committee Against Stoning are reporting that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is to be executed in Tabriz by hanging on Wednesday, November 3rd. Ashtiani, whose sole remaining attorney and adult son were arrested on October 10th along with two German journalists, had been convicted of adultery and flogged 99 times when first interned in 2006 for the crime of adultery. Reportedly, she had confessed to committing adultery with two men after being tortured. She recanted but was tried a second time and convicted again with the sentence of death by stoning. Over the following years two men implicated in her husband's death were convicted but not sentenced to death, while miraculously, in mid-2010 the Iranian regime then declared that Ashtiani had also been convicted of her husband's murder and was to be stoned for his death. They trotted her out on Iranian TV and in an interview got her to say that yes, yes, she was so very guilty and everyone should just stop saying that she shouldn't be treated whatever way the Iran's sharia justice (oxymoron?) decreed. Then Iranian authorities said the case was under review. Then they suspended the stoning sentence. Now they say they'll be quite happy to just hang her.
As The Guardian points out, and as I've discussed on this blog, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the US for their hypocrisy over our application of the death sentence. Ahmadinejad was right that it was hypocritical for the US to assail Iran's use of the death penalty. The problem is that our being wrong doesn't make him, or his judicial system, right.
Whatever she did, and there are certainly a number of indicators that she did absolutely nothing, her death at the hands of Iran's judicial system will achieve nothing more than to grant an imprimatur to the image of Iran as a country of barbarism and staggering human rights violations.
Is hanging better than stoning? Certainly for the victim. But it completely misses the point, doesn't it?
There is no right way to execute Sakineh.