A woman who claimed to be Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an imprisoned Iranian woman who faces execution for the crime of adultery, despite solid evidence that she is innocent, appeared yesterday on Iranian primetime television. The woman confessed to being an accomplice in her husband's murder. The TV program pixilated the woman's face and used a voice over because Ashtiani speaks Azeri Turkish instead of Farsi, according to the Associated Press. In addition to the confession, she condemned the western media for interfering in her personal life and criticized her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafei, for publicizing her case.
The International Committee Against Stoning believes the footage to be "toxic propaganda," according to Reuters. Even if the woman was Ashtiani, Mostafei suspects that the she had been coerced into appearing on the program. "Her life is in the hands of the people who have power in Iran, and whatever they want, they can achieve. It is a normal thing for Iranian TV to say lies," he said. Additionally, Ashtiani maintained her innocence a few days ago in an interview with the Guardian. Mostafei fears that officials will now "misuse her statements to justify her execution."
Drewery Dyke, from Amnesty International's Iran team, said "this [video] makes a complete mockery of the judiciary system in Iran. Iran is inventing crimes...it is an unacceptable practice that flies in the face of justice."
This case began in 2006, when Ashtiani was convicted of having extramarital relations with two men who killed her husband, according to Huliq. While she initially received a sentence of 99 lashes for adultery, during an appeal of her case, the court sentenced Ashtiani to death by stoning. Her case has caused international outrage due to the inconclusive evidence presented and the barbaric nature of execution by stoning. The stoning sentence was soon commuted as a result of international pressure, but Ashtiani could still be executed by hanging. As a result of the high profile nature of the case, Ashtiani's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, is currently seeking political asylum in Oslo, Norway and faces a warrant for his arrest in Iran.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .