An Iranian woman has been sentenced to six years in prison after authorities found an unpublished story she wrote about women being stoned to death.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a writer and human rights activist, has been convicted of ‘insulting Islamic sanctities’ because of her fictional story.
Under Shari’a law in Iran stoning is the punishment outlined for adultery.
The story describes a woman who watches the film ‘The Stoning of Soraya M’ – which tells the true story of a young woman stoned to death for adultery – and becomes so enraged that she burns a copy of the Qur’an.
‘She is effectively being punished for using her imagination,’ Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Director of Research and Advocacy for the Middle East and North Africa, said.
The story was discovered by the authorities on 6 September 2014 by men believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards.
The men showed no arrest warrant but searched Ms Iraee and her husband Arash Sadeghi’s home, rifling through their possessions and seizing their laptops, notebooks and some CDs.
Mr Sadeghi was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison and Ms Iraee to a secret detention place.
She was kept there for the night and then transferred to a section of Evin Prison that is under the control of the Revolutionary Guard, where she was held for 20 days.
Ms Iraee said that during this time she was subjected to long hours of interrogations while blindfolded and facing a wall, and that interrogators repeatedly told her that she could face execution for ‘insulting Islam’.
She could reportedly also clearly hear interrogators threatening and verbally abusing her husband in the next cell, adding to her distress.
On Tuesday, Ms Iraee received a phone call ordering her to present herself to Evin Prison to begin serving her six-year prison sentence for ‘insulting Islamic sanctities’ and ‘spreading propaganda against the system’.
Amnesty is urging the Iranian authorities to immediately repeal her conviction and sentence.
‘Instead of imprisoning a young woman for peacefully exercising her human rights by expressing her opposition to stoning, the Iranian authorities should focus on abolishing this punishment, which amounts to torture. It is appalling that Iran continues to allow the use of stoning, and justifies it in the name of protecting morality,’ Mr Luther said.
‘Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee’s “trial” was farcical. She was denied the right to a defence and her sentence was a foregone conclusion. This is just the latest example of the Iranian authorities’ utter contempt for justice and human rights.’
Share or comment on this article