PR No. 111
10 October 2010
Press TV, an English-language television station sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, broadcast a show about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani on December 10, 2010. This broadcast is a document that, for any fair and decent human being, and any organization or institution that respects the human right and dignity,serves as the basis for a clear condemnation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a document that demonstrates how morally bankrupt and desperate this regime’s propagandas have become as it attempts to defend its crimes in front of the rest of the world.
It was a show against a woman who is in prison and who was supposed to be stoned to death – a stoning execution that was stopped by international outrage and support – and who still is facing death by hanging execution. She is a woman who is deprived of any contact or communication with the world outside of prison, whose son and attorney are being held in prison, who does not have any support close at hand, and who, under these circumstances has been forced to appear in front of television cameras to make self-incriminating false confessions. Who can possibly watch this show and not see the Islamic Republic regime’s mocking and duplicitous intent, not feel disgusted and angry?
Judicial experts, the Department of Intelligence, and regime diplomats, along with the managers and producers of Press TV, have worked for months on this project. They have worked to “prove” that Sakineh is an accomplice to a murder, a prostitute who cheated on her husband; to introduce Mina Ahadi and her late husband as traitors and terrorists; to discredit Sakineh’s attorneys and question the validity of their arguments – all in an attempt to buy prestige and justify their own disgraced and deeply discredited judicial system. In fact, with this program, the Islamic Republic of Iran has bluntly confessed to its fabrication of files against defenseless prisoners, on which basis it executes and stones them. It showed how it denies basic rights for women, and how its repulsive and rotten laws work against them. It displayed its inhumane treatment of prisoners. This document was an indictment against this regime.
There was another 90-minute program that was broadcast in the Islamic Republic's Persian-language television the night before it was broadcast on Press TV – another desperate effort by the regime.
There are several important aspects of Press TV show:
1 – The show was a confession to a horrifying crime committed by the regime in 1980s. The Islamic Republic admitted that it executed Esmail Yegane-doost, Mina Ahadi’s husband. During those years, the Islamic Republic not only arrested Esmail, but also arrested hundreds of thousands of its opponents. Tens of thousands of them were tortured in medieval fashion or “tried” in minute courts.(1) From pregnant women to teenagers of ages 14 or 15, they were executed by the death squads, which even had the audacity to ask the [bereaved] families for the money the government spent on the bullets that killed their loved ones. They had neither lawyers nor did they commit a crime. The Islamic Republic charged them as terrorists and enemies of God and handed them to the death squads. As a result, Mina Ahadi and hundreds of thousands of others fled the country or took refuge in free zones in Kurdistan to continue their fight against this regime.
2 – The Islamic government has admitted that Sakineh does not have a lawyer. One of her lawyers fled the country and her other lawyer is now in prison. And while she is denied any contact with the outside world, her only great supporter, her son, is now in prison too. It demonstrated how the regime stole her file to manipulate and fabricate it to their liking, and under such circumstances forced her to confess against her will. This show tries to portray Sakineh as a cheater, a prostitute, and an accomplice to the murder of her husband, without allowing her to have any legal defense. Her son Sajjad, her lawyer Houtan Kian, and the two German reporters from das Bild newspaper also lack a lawyer to legally represent or defend them.
3 – The re-creation of the murder scene is so lame it would make an even a 10-year-old laugh. [In the show], a man named Issa Taheri calls Sakineh at home and says that he wants to come by today to kill her husband. He explains the whole murder plan over the phone and then, with Sakineh’s help, the plan is executed. The show makes no reference to the fate of the main killer, Issa Taheri.(2)
4 – As part of recreating the murder scene, Sajjad [Sakineh’s son] is forced to play the role of his deceased father; [thus, in recreating the scene, his own mother] is made to inject her son with anesthetics which, according to [the lines Sakineh is forced to mouth], is what Issa Taheri provided her. Only the regime’s criminals are capable of devising a scene so inhumane and disgusting. These scenes have been developed and produced to appeal to a European audience. We can only imagine that what this government is doing with other prisoners!
5 – The following are what constitute crimes according to the Islamic judicial system:
Sakineh’s crime: Being a woman, having an extramarital affair or relationship with another man and betraying her husband, which, in and of itself is considered prostitution, for which she was sentenced to 99 lashes and ten years in prison and then sentenced to the most heinous torture: death by stoning and being buried alive. Later, due to global pressures, when the regime could not carry out the stoning sentence [for the non-crime of adultery], they decided to steal her file from her lawyer’s office in order to fabricate evidence so they could press charges against her as an accomplice to her husband’s murder, [thus opening the door to] sentencing her to death by hanging. Their act constitutes clear evidence on how defenseless women are [before the judiciary], and how retrogressive and anti-human the rule of law is [under the Islamic Republic].
Sajjad’s crime: Contacting and communicating with Mina Ahadi, getting a lawyer to help his mother, and trying to save his mother from being stoned to death or executed by hanging.
Houtan’s crime: Making Sakineh’s file available to the media to save her from being stoned to death. His crime has made it very difficult for Islamic Republic to alter Sakineh’s file any further.
The visages of both Sajjad and Houtan convey evidence that both have been subjected to extreme mental pressure and physical torture in prison.
The two German journalists’ crimes: As tourists, traveling to Iran and talking with Sajjad and Houtan to help free Sakineh. Some officials from the regime accused them of spying but were forced to redact. Since their “crime” is contacting Mina Ahadi, Sajjad and Houtan, these two reporters are no longer allowed to contact anybody, not even their family members. They have been denied visitation rights and, for having committed their “crime,” they have been forced to make false televised confessions, have been humiliated, and have been held in prison without any official charges brought against them.
6 – Finally, this show is a confession of the fact that Press TV is not independent media but an advertising agency and mouthpiece for the regime’s propaganda, specifically its judiciary system and its intelligence service. Press TV is partner in crime with all of these agencies and is complicit in all of the crimes committed by them. This state sponsored television station’s reporters are in fact interrogators for the [judiciary] system, much like all of the Islamic Republic’s other television channels.
Considering the aforementioned facts:
1 – The International Committees Against Stoning and Execution strongly condemn this program and encourages everyone to condemn it.
2 – The Press TV show was intended to work against Sakineh, Sajjad, Sakineh’s lawyer, Mina Ahadi, the Campaign to Save Sakineh, and the media that has covered this campaign. However, not only did this show fail to achieve its goal, but it revealed the true inhumane face of the Islamic Republic of Iran to people around the globe, in even greater detail than before. The Islamic Republic of Iran did not accomplish anything [to its benefit] by this show irrespective of all of the efforts it made.
3 – The Press TV show provides a clear indication of the complete innocence of Sajjad, Houtan, and the two German journalists, and the baseless case against Sakineh. Even by relying on the evidence presented in this show, and all the allegations against them, all five of them are innocent and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
4 – According to this program, those who killed Esmail Yeganeh-Doost and thousands of other political prisoners are the same ones responsible for Sakineh’s imprisonment, flogging, and the nightmare of death by stoning. They are also responsible for the imprisonment and torture of Sajjad and Houtan, and for the abuse and imprisonment of the two German journalists. These killers must be tried and held accountable.
5 – Once again, this show reveals the inhumane nature of the Islamic Republic’s judicial system to everyone. The Islamic Republic, over its 31-year-long rule, and based on such a system, has imprisoned and/or executed tens of thousands of people, and brutally tortured hundreds of thousands others. It is based on this system that a large number of opposition activists, labor and student activists, women's rights advocates, lawyers, and believers of different religions, are put in jail, tortured, and deprived of any rights. The Press TV program is an absolute proof of the necessity of overthrowing the Islamic Republic as a terrorist and criminal government.
The International Committees against Stoning and Execution and the Campaign to Save Sakineh will continue the fight with strength and full force. The Press TV television show is a document against the scandalous regime in Iran which will be used, ever so widely, to strengthen our efforts to save Sakineh and all other detainees, and to abolish the brutal penalties of flogging, stoning to death, and executions. We call on the people of the world to join in solidarity with the Iranian people in their struggle against this medieval regime.
International Committee against Executions
International Committee against Stoning
Spokesperson: Mina Ahadi firstname.lastname@example.org 0049-177-569-2413
(1) “Minute courts” refer to perfunctory judiciary proceedings that are meant to serve as a “trial,” but in fact make a mockery of a legitimate court hearing, most obviously evidence by the fact that the proceedings last no more than a minute or two.
(2) Issa Taheri, who was convicted for the murder of Sakineh’s husband, is living free because Sakineh’s children forgave him for the crime of murdering their father.