The death penalty in Iran

10 August 2010

Caroline Lucas has written to the Foreign Secretary, over the cases of Ebrahim Hamidi, an 18-year-old Iranian facing imminent execution on charges of homosexuality, and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, facing the death penalty for adultery:

Rt Hon. William Hague MP

Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

London  SW1A 2AH

10 August 2010

Dear William,

URGENT: Ebrahim Hamidi and and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani - facing execution in Iran

I am writing regarding the above urgent cases.

I am sure that you share my horror that 18-year-old Ebrahim Hamidi is facing imminent execution on charges of homosexuality. You will be aware that Ebrahim Hamidi had been represented by human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, but that Mr Mostafaiei has since been forced to flee Iran. Therefore, Ebrahim Hamidi now has no legal representation and faces a death sentence for "lavat," or sodomy, on the basis of "judge's knowledge," a legal loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where there is no conclusive evidence.

You may also be aware that Mr Mostafaei was also representing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two, who is also awaiting execution, for alleged adultery. I understand that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has already endured a sentence of 99 lashes, but her case was re-opened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted, but the adultery charge was reviewed and a death penalty handed down, again, on the basis of "judge's knowledge".

In both cases, there is clear evidence that the individuals have been charged on the basis of false accusations. The matter of evidence aside, it is appalling that these barbaric and cruel punishments exist for homosexuality and extramarital sex under Iran's penal code and I am writing to urge you to contact the Chief Justice of Iran and ask that the executions of Ebrahim Hamidi and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani be halted.

Iran executed 388 people last year - more than any other country in the world apart from China, according to Amnesty International. I urge you to do everything possible to press Iran to end its use of the death penalty.

I should be grateful for your response to this letter.

Yours sincerely,


Caroline Lucas

MP for Brighton Pavilion


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