Monday, August 14, 2006

Sticks and Stones

I know that it can be glib and too easy to point fingers at the other side of the world, criticizing their treatment of women when our own is far from perfect. So, having claimed to be sensitive to that issue, I'm going to do it anyway.

Ashraf Kolhari, an Iranian mother of four, has been sentenced to death for having sex outside of marriage. Kolhari was convicted of having an affair after the Iranian court system refused to grant her a divorce from her husband. The sentence of stoning could be carried out at any time.

And it's hard not to notice that this crime is not committed alone. What happens to the men also involved in the crime of sex outside marriage? Background information about this practice and this particular case can be found here: Amnesty International.

Please, act now by writing to the Iranian government and the United Nations, demanding that Iran stop the cruel practice of stoning and commute Ashraf Kolhari's death sentence. Try this link if you want an easy way to get your letter sent: Feminist Majority.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran's penal code, women thus convicted must be buried up to their chest and stoned in a manner that increases the victim's suffering and prolongs her death. Stones are deliberately chosen so they will “not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones. Eight other women in Iran reportedly await the same fate as Kolhari.

In 2003, worldwide protest averted the stoning of Amina Lawal. Lawal, a Nigerian single mother, was also convicted of sex out of wedlock. We do have the power to save women's lives. Please join together, once again, to protest death by stoning and to protect the dignity and integrity of women's lives across the globe.

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