Zohreh and Azar Kabiri are sisters and mothers. They were arrested on 5 February, 2007 following allegations of adultery by Zohreh’s husband. A month later they were prosecuted and sentenced to 99 lashes. After the sentence was executed, both were returned to prison for unknown reasons; and six months later they were tried again for the same crime but this time sentenced to death by stoning.
At the first trial, which was conducted without a defence lawyer, the judge interrogated Zohreh and Azar and unlawfully obtained a highly dubious confession. The women say that the questions were manipulative and ambiguous and that they had no idea what the consequences of their responses would be.
Zohreh’s husband accused her of inviting men into their home and, along with her sister, having (in the court’s words) “improper relations”. A video tape he sent to the police as evidence apparently showed nothing of the sort, yet on his say so and despite the lack of any “complaint” from Azar’s husband, the two women were arrested and tried.
Zohreh explains the circumstances behind her arrest, showing how easy it is for many women in Iran to become victims of barbaric laws, at the mercy of their male relatives and husbands. “I have been a student for many years and I have earned my bachelor’s degree in history. I was even teaching classes and I enjoyed my job. However, after a while, my husband decided that I should not work, and my insistence to continue my career led nowhere. My husband’s actions damaged our relationship. He was always suspicious of me; in his mind, the reason for our problems was that I was having relations with someone else, even though the problems between me and my husband were based in his mistreatment of me.”
The women now have a lawyer who is able and willing to properly represent them. It is to be hoped that this and international pressure will stop this barbaric state murder.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women have launched a campaign to stop the executions, supported by Women Against Fundamentalisms in Britain. They are urging activists to contact Iranian officials, and Iranian embassies, with messages of protest — and to spread this information as widely as possible.
For more information and a model letter of protest, see
• Women Living Under Muslim Laws www.wluml.org
• Stop Stoning: www.stop-stoning.org