Philobiblon: Save a life or two, or at least try

Monday, December 20, 2004

Save a life or two, or at least try

Amnesty International UK is reporting on two cases of women in Iran in imminent peril.

A 19-year old girl, “Leyla M”, who has a mental age of eight, reportedly faces imminent execution for “morality-related” offences after being forced into prostitution by her mother as a child. According to a Tehran newspaper report of 28 November, she was sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak and the sentence has now been passed to the Supreme Court for confirmation.

Leyla M was reportedly sentenced to death on charges of “acts contrary to chastity” by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives and giving birth to an illegitimate child. She is to be flogged before she is executed. She had apparently “confessed” to the charges. Earlier reports stated that there would be an appeal, and the 28 November report indicates that this process is now at an end.

Social workers have reportedly tested her mental capacities repeatedly and each time have found Leyla to have a mental age of eight. However, she has apparently never been examined by the court-appointed doctors, and was sentenced to death solely on the basis of her explicit confessions, without consideration of her background or mental health ...


Hajieh Esmailvand is at risk of imminent execution after her death sentence for adultery was upheld by the Supreme Court in November. She could allegedly be stoned to death as early as 21 December. Her unnamed co-defendant is at risk of imminent execution by hanging.

According to reports, Hajieh Esmailvand was sentenced to five years imprisonment, to be followed by execution by stoning, for adultery with an unnamed man who at the time was a 17 year old minor. Although the exact date of her arrest and trial are not known, it is reported that she has been imprisoned in the town of Jolfa, in the north west of Iran, since January 2000.

In November 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Hajieh Esmailvand but changed the lower court's verdict from 'death by hanging' to 'death by stoning'. Reports suggest that the Supreme Court has ordered that the remainder of Hajieh's five year prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence can be carried out before 21 December.

The websites suggest officials to email.


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