In Iran, stonings and beatings create a necropolis for the living

In 2007, a very disturbing video was smuggled out of the Islamic Republic in Iran, recording the stoning of a number of Iranians.

Watching the video is extremely upsetting.

The disturbing video begins with a lashing of one person. After that, Hojjatoleslam Ali Razini, who was the head of Tehran's judiciary at the time, announced the verdict for the accused men on the amplifier. They were brought to the center of an arena like lambs to the slaughter, surrounded by a baying crowd of fanatics, who had scavenged rocks to use as weapons, and drooled like bloodthirsty wolves for their first kill. The condemned men were covered in white shrouds, as men with spades dug and filled their death pits around them.

Half buried in the pits, Razini threw the first stone at the accused – as if he were giving the Roman thumbs down. The four men, who were buried up to their waists, could only aimlessly try and attempt to somehow avoid the avalanche of rocks, but like prey caught in a trap, they could not avoid the inevitable. Soon their white shrouds were broken open and reddened with the color that symbolizes the character of the Islamic regime occupying Iran.

Stoning is an age-old ancient punishment, but who would ever think that today, in this new Millennium that there are still people on the planet who are forced to live under such barbaric and brutal laws?

However, cases of stoning to death, prescribed in Islamic canons for certain offenses, are in widespread practice. In October 2004, a 13-year-old child was stoned to death in Marivan, Iran. She had been accused of a “moral sin” by falling pregnant. 

The video featured male victims, but this outrage is indicative of a second problem well beyond the barbaric punishment itself: That women and girls are more often targets.

This is not as widely publicized as it should be. Even though the practice is applied to both men and women, because stoning is usually a punishment implemented against offenses such as adultery, women are more likely to be blamed and accused of such social misbehavior offenses.

Thirteen-year-old Jila’s horrific murder follows the death of 16-year-old Atabeh Rajabi, who was executed on August 15, 2004, for “engaging in acts incompatible with chastity.” Atabeh was refused a defense attorney in court. During an appearance in court, Atabeh bravely defied the adjudicator who sat in judgment of her and in doing so, the sociopathic judge sentenced her to death by hanging and personally volunteered to help with the noose. The free world stood by in silence and did nothing.

Fast forward to Sept. 16, 2022, the unjust arrest of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for the "crime" of improper hijab attire.

Mahsa was so brutally abused and beaten while in custody, that she eventually died while in a coma.

In its sixth consecutive week, Mahsa’s death has unleashed the anger of the Iranian people in what can only be defined as an uprising against the clerical regime such as has never been seen before, as well as the first ever female-led revolution.

Fearless Iranian women and teenage girls are disobeying the clerics by removing and burning their headscarves while courageous Iranian men proudly stand defiantly strong by their side against the brutal regime’s forces with the slogan: “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi,” meaning, “Woman, Life, Freedom.” 

This grassroots movement has taken the world by surprise is the antithesis of the Islamic Republic’s ethos.

Now teenage girls are burning posters of the so-called supreme leader Ali Khamenei and shouting “Death to Khamenei” and “We want regime change,” while risking their lives to do so.

Countless people have been killed, including children in these protests.

Never before in the history of women, anywhere, in any timeline has there ever been a female-led revolution, where the women have faced such a dangerous and brutal enemy. Not even the women’s suffrage movement had to endure such threats. It cannot be denied this is historic and unprecedented.

So, this begs a question as to why the Western world is not demanding those responsible to be tried for crimes against humanity?

The Islamic Republic in Iran is a signatory of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

To add insult to injury, the regime's minions are sitting members of the United Nations Commission on Women’s Rights. It is debatable as to whether this is more a reflection of the Western world’s lack of integrity or the audacity of the clerical regime. The world's democratic leaders must surely give thought as to whether they can rightly carry on "business as usual" with the Islamic Republic, given Iran's clear desecrations of human rights.

Contrary to what is frequently said, dialogue with the Islamic Republic has not improved the human rights situation – quite the reverse.

But nobody can ignore the demands of the Iranian people.

In reality, today’s human rights abuses are the cause of tomorrow’s conflicts.

Facing a collapsing economy and social uprising, the ruling mullahs have always responded with intensified oppression. A government that collaborates with such a regime is neither ethical nor principled. They should have no business cooperating with such a regime and no business interests can justify such involvement. No resolution, however diplomatically it is drafted, can deny the fact that the people of Iran live in terror.

Under the standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, can one argue that the Iranian people are not entitled to them? In the wonderful civilization that we enjoy in the West, it is difficult to understand how any civilized government can have dealings with an illegitimate regime that executes its own defenseless people, including women and children who effectively live in a necropolis for the living.  Ignoring such crimes is a stain on the free world.   

Nicole Sadighi is President of the non-profit Angels in Blue and also the Director of the award-winning movie I Am Neda.

Image: Screen shot from Associated Press video, via shareable YouTube

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