The lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is wanted in Iran
July 26, 2010 4 Comments
Iran has issued an arrest warrant on Mohammad Mostafaei, the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who was convicted of adultery after allegedly having “illicit relationships” with men other than her husband.
Already authorities have arrested Mostafaei’s wife and brother-in-law, ransacked his office and carried out interrogation methods in Evin prison for four hours last Saturday over his human rights activities.
His admission there that could be “no legal obstacle to Ashtiani’s execution being carried out at any time” was seen as a criticism of Iranian’s harsh and corrupt legal system. According to the Guardian, Mostafaei also called Sakineh’s stoning sentence “a bogus conviction” and “absolutely illegal”.
The use of evidence during court hearings in Iran are a subject of much contention. Article 105 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran states “The Shari’a Judge can act upon his own knowledge in the cases of [defending] the God’s Rights and People’s Rights and carry out the punishment constituted by the God and it is necessary that he documents his knowledge.” The way this law is practised often allows judgements to be made entirely on interpretation rather than documented evidence, which is the case for Sakineh where forensic evidence of her adultery is missing.
Even within Islamic law itself adultery cannot be proven satisfactorily before the perpetrator has confessed under free conditions on three separate occasions, or if four males, whom the court are happy to trust, actually witness the act of penetration – making testimony virtually implausible. If the single opinion of a judge can override that of the collective disagreement from five judges also involved in Sakineh’s case it would seem like that is even a violation of the Islamic Penal Code.
Mostafaei is considered to be a human rights activist as much as a lawyer. The international attention that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s case received made the Iranian authorities even more suspicious of him and the profile he was gaining.
The Guardian also quotes Mina Ahadi, a human rights activist for Iran Committee against Stoning (ICAS), based in Germany, who said: “It is ridiculous that they [officials] have taken Mostafaei’s family as ransom, they have somehow taken them hostage. This confirms what Sakineh’s son wrote in his public letter, that there’s no justice in Iran.”