Human Rights Voices

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Iran, October 8, 2016

Iran jails woman for 6 years for writing (unpublished) story on stoning

Original source

Times of Israel

An Iranian woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for writing an unpublished story about the practice of stoning in the Islamic republic, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Her husband, meanwhile, has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for various charges leveled against him after the story was found.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a writer and human rights activist, was imprisoned after authorities searched her and husband Arash Sadeghi's home in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and found the story in 2014.

The tale written by Iraee concerns a young Iranian woman who watches a movie about stoning - "The Stoning of Soraya M," a 2008 film based on a true story - and in her anger over the events of the film burns a Quran.

Execution by stoning is no longer common in Iran, but has still been implemented by courts from time to time in recent years as punishment for adultery.

Iraee was recently found guilty of "insulting Islamic sanctities" and "spreading propaganda against the system." She was told to report to Iran's notorious Evin prison.

She and Sadeghi were both initially imprisoned in 2014 after authorities discovered the story. She was held for 20 days in a detention facility, where she was not allowed to meet a lawyer.

Iraee suffered long hours of interrogation while blindfolded, during which officials told her she could be executed for her actions.

Her husband Arash Sadeghi has said he was tortured and beaten in custody. He has since been sentenced to 15 years in prison for "spreading propaganda against the system" and "gathering and colluding against national security."

"The charges against Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee are ludicrous," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"She is facing years behind bars simply for writing a story, and one which was not even published - she is effectively being punished for using her imagination. 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."