Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finding Truth on Shifting Sands aka My Endless Skepticism

Well, I mentioned that Press TV interview with Sakineh last week, and as one of my readers has reminded me, I didn't post it for you as I offered to. I'm sure you remember that for a fast 24 hours, the internet was alive with this idea that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been freed? It turned out that she was just reenacting "her crimes." I actually sat on posting about her purported release for a while because I just couldn't believe that the IRoI would have caved in and released her. Sure, she'd been flogged 99 times (at a minimum- still not sure about that story that she got more for appearing unveiled in the photo that turned out not to be her but hey, some people thought it was her and so maybe she should be flogged so more... though with all the scrutiny, I think that highly unlikely) just as proscribed for her adulterous behavior, which she confessed to, then denied, then reconfessed to, not once but twice, and now three times on Iranian (Press) TV. Of course, Iran says she is guilty not just of adultery (*raisedeyebrow*) but complicity with her husband's murder (which she denied but now says, oh yeah baby, did I ever help fry that sucker....).

The original concern over Sakineh's fate was that she had been sentenced to death by stoning for the crime of adultery, a fact has been vehemently denied by Iranian president Mahmoud Amadinejad while he visited the US last fall. I can tell you however, that the documentation (translation) obtained by Amnesty International clearly states that Sakineh was sentenced to death by stoning not for murder but for adultery, in direct opposition to the claims of Amadinejad. Azerbaijani sources claim yet another iteration (translation)- that Ashtiani's husband was involved in narcotics use and that he was prostituting her to pay for his habit and he ended up dead as a result.

When it comes to these interviews, it seems as if almost everyone, except perhaps Sakineh's son, Sajjad, has an agenda here. Even Sakineh herself, since obviously she has a clearly defined role to play. From Mohammed Mostafei to Mina Ahadi to whoever wishes to comment on behalf of the Islamic Republic including Amadinejad, everyone seems to have some stake, or offer some version of reality, that is not quite what it seems. 

So here are the Press TV interviews, broken into three parts. Just remember that Press TV is owned and operated by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. One other thing that I think you might want to note in this Press TV report is what goes so mysteriously unexplained. Isa Taheri, her purported lover/accomplice looks so relaxed and unsequestered in this video, doesn't he? It is not clear whether he was also flogged but reportedly he was at least convicted of both adultery and murder. Reported to be "thuggish" and to have had "run-ins with the police," it's not very obvious to me why Sakineh is in prison and Isa Taheri isn't. Can someone explain it to me? Even Press TV doesn't say that killing her husband was Sakineh's idea. So what is the story here? Why is Taheri free in Tabriz and Sakineh in prison? Is being female the worst crime of all? Taheri was supposedly convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years but he looks awfully free, paling around with his daddy in Tabriz, doesn't he? (Did I mention that he's not even the person, listed on the documents above, with whom Sakineh was convicted of committing adultery for her stoning sentence?) Was Ebrahim Qaderzadeh (Sakineh's husband) stabbed? Was he electrocuted? Both have been reported in the press. Was he murdered at all? Did he get high and electrocute himself? (Hey, my version is just as plausible as theirs!) Who is guilty, who is innocent? Who is trying to pull a nice set of blinders over our eyes so that we can only watch the screen in front of us?

What is the justice that Iran is trying to convince us it is seeking? I'll let you draw your own conclusions about whether anything that anyone has to say about this woman's case and the events surrounding it is the truth... But when you're done, go back and read that document from Politifact and Amnesty International. What really happened here? Will we ever know?

© Bright Nepenthe, 2011

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