Amnesty International Criticizes the TV 'Confession' of Woman in the Iran Stoning Case
August 12, 2010
Amnesty International criticized the TV "confession" of an Iranian woman last night, in which Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, awaiting execution by stoning for adultery, appears to implicate herself in the murder of her husband.
The interview was broadcast on Wednesday, August 11, on the '20:30' program by Seda va Sima, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
Televised "confessions" have repeatedly been used by the authorities to incriminate individuals in custody. Many have later retracted these "confessions," stating that they were coerced to make them, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment.
"This so-called confession forms part of growing catalogue of other forced confessions and self-incriminating statements made by many detainees in the past year," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director at Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa program.
"Statements made in such televised exchanges should have no bearing on Iran's legal system, or the call to review her case. This latest video shows nothing more than the lack of evidence against Sakineh Ashtiani," said Sahraoui.
Amnesty International understands that last week, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's lawyer, Javid Houtan Kiyan, submitted a 35-page request for a judicial review of her case. A response is expected on or around August 15.
"It appears that Iran's authorities have orchestrated this 'confession', following the call for a judicial review and now appear to be inventing new charges of murdering her husband," said Sahraoui.
Unconfirmed reports that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has recently been tortured or ill-treated while in Tabriz Central Prison, underscores Amnesty International's concern.
"Having Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani broadcast in this manner calls into question the independence of the judiciary, at least vis-a-vis the state broadcaster, and its ability to adhere to Iran's own laws. If the judiciary in Iran is to be taken seriously, this 'confession' needs to be disregarded and assurances given that it will not affect the review of her case" said Sahraoui.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.