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Screening in support of Sakineh Ashtiani

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year-old Iranian mother of two convicted in May 2006 of having an “illicit relationship”, despite already having been punished with a sentence of 99 lashes, was recently further convicted of “adultery” and sentenced to death by stoning. Due to massive international protests, her execution was delayed, but is still feared to take place anytime. In support of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and all women in Iran facing the same cruel destiny, the CINEMA FOR PEACE Foundation organized a press conference and a special screening of ‘The Stoning of Soraya M.’ by Cyrus Nowrasteh, winner of the CINEMA FOR PEACE Award for Justice 2010. The press conference took place on August 18th 2010 in attendance of Sakineh Ashtiani’s attorney Mohammed Mostafaei, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger, and Markus Löning, German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights.


Mohammad Mostafaei was forced to flee Iran at the end of July due to serious threats to seek asylum in Norway. The trip to Germany to speak at the press conference organized by CINEMA FOR PEACE in Berlin was his first travel abroad since his arrival in Norway. All participants jointly expressed their concerns about the deterioration of human rights in Iran and demanded to repeal the death penalty against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, to abolish the barbarous penalty of stoning and the death penalty in general, and to establish a democratic legal system in Iran, giving women their human and democratic rights. These demands have been supported by members of all political parties in Germany, e.g. by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD) and Gregor Gysi (DIE LINKE). The petition and appeal to save Sakineh’s life was also signed by German Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP),Annie Lennox, Bob Geldof, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford and many more.


Our press conference and “urgent action” received broad national and international media attention – and showed almost immediate effects: Following a suggestion of CINEMA FOR PEACE, Serkan Tören, member of the German Government, offered asylum to Mrs. Ahtiani. We are currently discussing with him possibilities for a screening of “The Stoning of Soraya M” for the German parliament. The Iranian government has contacted Mr. Mostafaei shortly after the press conference and offered him to return to Iran. At the same time French First Lady Carla Bruni contacted the attorney in exile to offer her support on behalf of France. Mr. Mostafaei is currently not pursuing any requests, until his family, who is still in Iran, is allowed to leave the country. He is positive that, under the international pressure, Sakineh Ashtianis life may be saved. As a matter of course we will continue action till this goal will be hopefully reached.

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Recommended Film: The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)
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