Two Iranian women, Sakineh Ashtiani, currently facing an execution sentence, and Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and colleague of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, are in danger in Iran. Ahtiani,who was originally sentenced to death by stoning after an adultery conviction faces a possible execution by hanging, while prominent human rights lawyer, Sotoudeh, has been on a dry hunger strike (no food or water) for more than a week while protesting her imprisonment.
Ashtiani was scheduled to be executed by hanging last Wednesday, but due to massive international protest started by her son and daughter, her execution was suspended, and according to Iranian officials, her file is "under review,"... but the regime has been known to execute people whose files were under review in the past. In 2006, she was convicted of having extramarital relations with two men who killed her husband. No names have ever been documented for the two men. While she initially received a sentence of 99 lashes for adultery, during an appeal of her case, the court sentenced her to death by stoning. After worldwide outrage, this sentence was commuted to death by hanging. Her sentence still stands, and she is still living with the knowledge that she could be executed at any time.
Sotoudeh, the mother of two children, has defended many political activists and campaigners in Iran's presidential elections last year, has been held in Tehran's Evin Prison since September 4, when she was arrested and charged with "acting against state security" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic." She is currently in solitary confinement; Sotoudeh has been refusing food and water to protest the intolerable conditions of prison and the improper investigation of her case; she is in grave physical shape as a result. Activists are concerned she will soon fall into a coma or die.
Prominent political figures, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, have issued statements expressing concern and dismay over the treatment of the women.
Please Contact your State Department or Foreign Ministry with the following message.
Dear [the correct name]
I demand that this government exert the utmost diplomatic pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to:
1) to immediately release Nasrin Sotoudeh and drop ALL charges against her.
2) stop the persecution of all Iranian human rights lawyers and adhere to the international human rights laws in which the Iran government is a state party.
3) allow Nasrin Sotoudeh to continue her work as a human rights attorney uninterrupted and allow her to visit her clients and give her access to her clients files and paperwork as guaranteed by judicial law.