Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become an international cause celebre. World public opinion has been outraged at her sentence of death by stoning for adultery and the heinous torture and mistreatment she has faced over the past five years.
Her case has brought focus on the repressive Islamic regime of Iran, its medieval judicial system based on Sharia, and its brutal treatment of women in particular. This is a regime that still stones people to death in the 21st century with its law specifying the size of the stone to be used. And it shows no leniency - even arresting her 22 year old son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and lawyer, Houtan Kian, along with two journalists covering her case on 10 October 2010.
Whilst reiterating our demand that the four along with Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani be immediately and unconditionally released, we find it high time that the Islamic regime of Iran is unequivocally condemned. It is time for governments and institutions to boycott the regime, shut down its embassies and offices, and prosecute its high-ranking officials.
The public outcry regarding Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become humanity’s cry vis-à-vis this era’s barbarity. Today, her case in specific and stoning in general have become the apartheid of our era – intolerable and unacceptable.
Clearly, a regime that still stones people to death in this day and age must face diplomatic isolation as did the apartheid regime of South Africa. Moreover, stoning must be deemed a crime against humanity. This has to be the beginning of the end.
Mina Ahadi is founder and Spokesperson of the International Committee against Stoning and International Committee against Execution. She was the National Secular Society’s 2007 Secularist of the Year award winner. She was also selected as one of Elle Quebec’s top 45 women of the year 2007. Her biography, “I have renounced religion,” has been published in 2008 in Germany by Heyne Publishing House. (Germany)
Richard Dawkins is an author and scientist. He has won a number of prizes, including the Sci-Tech Prize for the Best Science Programme of 1987, the 1989 Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, the 1990 Royal Society Michael Faraday Award for the furtherance of the public understanding of science, the 1994 Nakayama Prize for Human Science, the 1997 (Fifth) International Cosmos Prize in Commemoration of Expo' 90 (UK)
Sonja Eggerickx is President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the Federation of Flemish Humanist Organisations in Belgium (UVV) and Coordinator of the IHEU's Women's Network. Professionally, she is a Senior Schools Inspector in Moral Education (Belgium)
A. C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He has written and edited many books. He is the Editor of Online Review London and Contributing Editor of Prospect magazine. He sits on the editorial boards of several academic journals, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Royal Society of Arts, and was a Booker Prize judge in 2003 (UK)
Harold Kroto has been knighted in 1996 for his contributions to chemistry and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of C60 Buckminsterfullerene, a new form of carbon that year, together with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley of Rice University, Houston, Texas (USA)
Maryam Namazie is a human rights activist, writer, commentator and broadcaster. She is Spokesperson of Iran Solidarity, One Law for All Britain and Equal Rights Now amongst others. She is also the National Secular Society's 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and an NSS Honorary Associate. Maryam was selected one of Elle Quebec’s top 45 women of the year in 2007 and her blog rated top 100 athiest blogs (UK)
Taslima Nasrin is a physician, human rights activist and award-winning Bangladeshi author of several banned books. She is winner of a number of awards, including the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the Feminist of the Year Award, Free-thought Heroine Award, UNESCO Prize for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence, Grand Prix International Condorcet-Aron 2005, and the Simone de Beauvoir prize (India)
Daniel Salvatore Schiffer is a philosopher, writer and promoter of the “Open Letter to the Iranian Authorities” in support of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. This appeal has been signed by 150,000 people including renowned French and Italian intellectuals and 7 Nobel Prize winners (Belgium)
Terry Sanderson is a journalist, writer and President of the National Secular Society. He is the author of nine books and has written extensively for the national press. His popular column in Gay Times has been appearing continuously for 25 years – the longest-running column ever in the gay press (UK)
Michael Schmidt-Salomon is a philosopher and Spokesperson of Giordano Bruno Foundation. His books include the Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism: A Plea for a Contemporary Culture and The Church in the Head (Germany)
Annie Sugier founded the “Ligue du droit international des femmes” with Simone de Beauvoir in 1983. Her professional background is scientific. She is officer of the Legion d'Honneur and has published several books, including “Histoires du MLF” (France)
Michèle Vianès is the founder and President of Regards de Femmes, Vice President of the French Coalition of the European Women’s Lobby, and patron of Ni putes ni soumises (France)