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On Air: Isn't it up to Iran to decide how it punishes its own people?

Pandita Louram | 11:10 UK time, Thursday, 8 July 2010

_48284709_48284710.jpgIranian mother of two Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could be stoned to death at any moment unless an international campaign forces the authorities in Iran to change their mind.

Sakineh was convicted of adultery in 2006 - a conviction her lawyer calls bogus - and has already received 99 lashes. However, the case was reopened after a court suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted but the adultery charge was reviewed and the death penalty handed down.

The case highlights the growing use of the death penalty in Iran - a country which has already executed more than 100 people this year. The story is rapidly gaining interest across the world. Many Western organisations, websites, petitions and blogs are horrified by the decision of the Iranian court. The human rights group Real Courage is just one example:

We condemn this barbaric and inhuman practice and demand that the U.S. government and international justice and human rights groups speak out on this. We demand that the Islamic Republic of Iran ENDS this inhuman practice of stoning.

For blogger Boris Pomroy stoning it not only barbaric but unIslamic:

It is only fair to point out at this time that 'death by stoning' is in no way Islamic, it is not mentioned in the Koran at all. However, following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Mullahs were quick to install it into the penal code as their punishment of choice for adulterers...Writing this, I can't really work out what appalls me most. The inequality that women like Ms Ashtini face (A women's testimony is only worth half that of a man), the sheer brutality of the situation or the fact that it all so pre-meditated.

But for others - such as Behnaz Tavakoli commenting on the Huffington Post - criticism should start at home first:

If you want to stop maybe 5-10 cases of stoning by invading and killing 3-5 million Iranians, you are on the wrong track. Muslims have different cultures and rules, the Iraq and Afghanistan should teach you that western civic society cannot be exported by guns. We have major problems at home and lost control of US to a bunch of elite corpocrats. Let's fix our problems at home and lead by example if we can.
So should the world be telling Iran what's right and wrong or should it be left up to Iran to decide if the punishment fits the crime? Join our conversation here, on Facebook or on Twitter - just follow #Iranianstoning

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