DC: Protests Outside Iranian Interests Building: Stop the Stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani
On July 2, 2010, in Washington DC, outside of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Interest Section of the Pakistan Embassy, Washington DC area demonstrators called for the Iranian government to stop the stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year old woman, who has been convicted of adultery in the Islamic Republic of Iran and condemned to death by stoning. R.E.A.L. urges the public to express their voice in an online petition demanding that Iran stops the stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani and ends stoning in Iran.
The DC protest demonstration, promoted by Mission Free Iran, was led by Washington DC human rights activist Maria Rohaly. Demonstrators included Iranians who have moved to America, supporters of the group Human Rights & Secular Democracy For Iran, and supporters of the volunteer human rights group Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.).
Outside of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Interest Section of the Pakistan Embassy, human rights activist Maria Rohaly read a protest statement calling for ending of stoning in Iran: “We are gathered here today in response to the plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her children.” Maria Rohaly stated that her children “have called upon the world for help to save their mother’s life. We in Washington DC tell them that we feel their pain and we know their grief. We want them to know that they are not alone in their sorrow and their anguish. Dear children, your letter has raised a wave of sympathy and compassion, demonstrating that humanity is alive. Today, we loudly declare: 1. First the stoning verdict against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani should be discarded. Execution is murder by the state. 2. Stoning is the most savage and most merciless form of execution and should be abolished, must be abolished in Iran and worldwide. 3. Third, sexual relationships between adults are private matters and no individuals, no institutions, and especially, no government, has the right to interfere in these matters. 4. Fourth, we strongly condemn the Islamic Republic [of Iran] for its barbaric implementation of stoning, execution, and torture… we call upon all international institutions as well as the United Nations and the European Union to strongly condemn the Islamic Republic and demand that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s stoning verdict be overturned, as well as verdicts of all others that [Iran] plans stoning and executions. 5. We use this opportunity to demand immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Zeinab Jalalian. 6. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s leaders must be prosecuted and punished in an international court on charges of stoning and executions of tens of thousands of people. No to execution, no to stoning, and no to murderous laws.”
Demonstrators protested alongside Wisconsin Avenue and alerted motorists and pedestrians to the stoning threat to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtianii. Some of the protesters also marched from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Interest Section of the Pakistan Embassy at 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest to Dupont Circle to distribute fliers to the public on this issue and urge them to contact their governments on the barbaric acts of stoning that have taken place, and are planned to take place in Iran.
An international campaign led by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s children has sought to alert the world to this and call upon the Iranian government to quash her conviction, which was obtained after she was lashed 99 times. Demonstrators also condemned the barbaric practice of stoning and the inequality of women in Iran. According to the Guardian, “Under Iranian sharia law, the sentenced individual is buried up to the neck (or to the waist in the case of men), and those attending the public execution are called upon to throw stones.” CNN, Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty, the Daily Mail, and other media have reported on this story. Mission Free Iran, the Human Rights & Secular Democracy For Iran group, International Committee Against Stoning, and R.E.A.L. have sought to publicize the campaign to stop the stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.
Mission Free Iran promoted the event with a blog article “STOP the STONING of Sakine Mohammadi,” and has also been promoting additional global protests in London (July 2), Toronto (July 4), and Cologne, Germany (July 4). The Human Rights & Secular Democracy For Iran group has held a number of Washington DC human rights events for Iran, including a March 7 event recognizing the need for women’s equality in Iran on International Women’s Day, and a February 11 event in solidarity with women and students in support of Iranian democracy. R.E.A.L. has tried to publicize the continuing plight of stoning in Iran and other parts of the world, and has held multiple awareness events on stoning corresponding to the film released last summer, “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” including a public awareness campaign in Washington DC’s Georgetown. R.E.A.L. supporters have also tried to have home gatherings to watch the DVD release of that film in March 2010.
Mission Free Iran Published Statement for Washington DC Event
Friday July 2 at 6pm in front of the Islamic Republic’s Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy (2209 Wisconsin Ave NW, Wash DC).
The children of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani have reached out to the world with a heart-rending appeal: Protest against our mother’s stoning!
Mission Free Iran is organizing Washington DC’s participation in the global protest to respond to the appeal of Sakine’s children and demand a stop to the barbaric execution of Sakine by stoning.
We will meet in front of the Islamic Republic’s Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy at 6pm on Friday, July 2, 2010 to tell the Islamic Republic that we will not stay silent while one more woman is stoned to death in Iran. We will later walk to DuPont Circle and raise awareness of Sakine’s situation in the community.
Please feel free to bring your own signs with messages protesting the barbaric and criminal stoning act that the Islamic Republic has planned for our sister, Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani.
* We will demand freedom for Sakine.
* We will demand an end to stoning, and to all executions in Iran.
* We will demand removal of the Islamic Republic from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
* We will demand that the Islamic Republic be put on trial in international court for its crimes against humanity.
There will be an open mike so that anyone who wishes to speak may express themselves.
“He said his mother was an outspoken critic of the regime and especially Khomeini from day one. She was a teacher and had spoken against the regime and authorities at work. “One day when we were all having lunch, they stormed in and took my mother with them … it all happened so quickly. It didn’t even take two weeks when, one day, they announced in the town ‘come and witness a women being stoned.’ That woman was my mother.”
He said that with fear and in a state of shock, he went and from a distance witnessed his mother being stoned to death… he believes though that his mother was still alive when buried. This man has sent me his indictment against the savage thuggery of this anti-human, fascist regime, to be introduced to an international court.”
– Rescue Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani, Prosecute Leaders of the Islamic Republic! by Mina Ahadi
Additional Activism to Challenge Groups Promoting Stoning
The international Hizb ut-Tahrir group held a demonstration on June 22 in Indonesia supporting calls for stoning, and we reject such views. On World AIDS day, Hizb ut-Tahrir also called for stonings as the answer to AIDS. The American branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir is planning to meet in a Chicago suburb on July 18 or 25 at an undetermined location, after the Chicago Oak Brook Marriott canceled hosting their Hizb ut-Tahrir America conference on July 11. R.E.A.L. has challenged Hizb ut-Tahrir’s views on stoning, and Hizb ut-Tahrir America’s objections to democracy and religious freedom. R.E.A.L. has invited DC area Muslims in support of democracy and religious freedom to join them at the R.E.A.L. July 11 Lincoln Memorial event at 2 PM to demonstrate their support for our human rights, and challenge Hizb ut-Tahrir’s views.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) stand with our fellow human beings in defense of our Universal Human Rights.
We urge all – Choose Love, Not Hate – Love Wins.