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Woman sentenced to be stoned to death is released


Public Statement, Amnesty International


Mokarrameh Ebrahimi was released from Choubin prison in Qazvin province, northwestern Iran, on 17 March, along with her youngest child, a son named Ali, who was living in prison with her.


Mokarrameh Ebrahimi had been imprisoned for 11 years. She was sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of adultery, along with Ja'far Kiani with whom she had two children. Ja'far Kiani was stoned to death on 5 July 2007.


The executions by stoning of the couple were initially scheduled for 17 June 2007. The stonings were to be carried out publicly in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, in the town of Takestan in Qazvin province in the presence of a judge from the court which sentenced them to death.


Activists from Iran's Stop Stoning Forever campaign publicized the plans for this public execution, which led to a widespread domestic and international outcry, including from Amnesty International.  On 20 June, news reports stated that the Head of the Judiciary had issued a written order requiring the judiciary in Takestan to stay the execution temporarily. However, on 5 July Ja'far Kiani was stoned to death in Aghche-kand, a village outside Takestan. In mid-October 2007, the Head of the Judiciary sent Mokarrameh Ebrahimi's case to the Amnesty and Clemency Commission, who have now ordered her release. She is believed to have been pardoned by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Shadi Sadr, leader of the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign, said, "It was a rare ruling... I cannot tell how the commission came up with this decision... But you cannot deny the role of public opinion and domestic and international pressures."


According to Amnesty International's sources, at least ten women - Iran, Khayrieh, Kobra N, Fatemeh, Ashraf Kalhori, Shamameh Ghorbani, Leyla Ghomi, Hajar and sisters Zohreh and Azar Kabiri-niat - are still at risk of being stoned to death, along with two men - Abdollah Farivar and an unnamed Afghan national.


Since the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign was launched on 1 October 2006, six people have been saved from stoning: Hajieh Esmailvand (see UA 336/04, MDE 13/053/2004, 16 December 2004, and follow-ups), Soghra Mola'i, Parisa (see UA 257/06, MDE 13/111/2006, 28 September 2006, and follow-up), Parisa's husband, Najaf, Zahra Reza'I and  Mokarrameh Ebrahimi. Others have been granted stays of execution, and some of the cases are being reviewed or re-tried. Activists in the campaign have faced repression.


A new version of the Iranian Penal Code is under consideration by the Majles (parliament) which, if passed, would appear to allow for stoning sentences to be changed to execution by other means or flogging.


For more information, see Iran: End Executions by Stoning (AI Index MDE 13/001/2008).


Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

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