Sunday, 25 July 2010

Lift this death sentence

Yesterday I went along to a protest in Victoria Square to highlight the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. She is the 43 year old mother of two who was facing death by stoning in Iran after being accused of having an 'illicit relationship' with two men. The threat of stoning has been lifted, but she is still facing execution.

I don't know whether there is any truth in the allegation about her 'crime'. It does not matter. What consenting adults do in private is their own business. It certainly should be of no concern to any state. Sakineh has already received 99 lashes. The flogging was barbaric enough. Execution, by whatever means, is even more so. I hope the international outcry about her plight will force the Iranian government to show her some mercy.

I can't stand double standards. Women the world over are on the receiving end of them much too often. I doubt very much if a hetrosexual man anywhere would face such extreme sanctions for actions in their private life.

But I also cannot stand double standards from those in the West who cry crocodile tears about the plight of Muslim women while cheerleading the awful brutality of wars that kill and widow them, supposedly in the name of their own 'liberation'.

No doubt, as with women of Afghanistan, there will be some who seek to exploit the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for their own ugly ends. Regardless, what is happening to this woman is morally unjust. She should be freed immediately.