We reported last month that Iran halted the stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. And while this may seem like cause for celebration, an uneasy cloud of uncertainty has shrouded this potential victory. We still fear that Ashtiani may be hanged, as charges against her have surfaced in connection to the murder of her husband.
But this is not the only unsettling development for those involved in the case. Yesterday, we denounced the arrest of Mohammad Mostafaei’s wife and brother-in-law, Fereshteh and Farhad Halimi, urging the Iranian authorities to stop harassing Mostafaei.
Mostafaei, a leading human rights lawyer, is defense counsel for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose sentence of death by stoning for alleged adultery recently provoked wide an international public outcry and is a focus of continuing protests and worldwide demands for clemency.
He was issued with a summons on July 21 requiring him to go to a branch of the Prosecutor’s Office in Evin Prison. He went there on July 24, was questioned for at least one hour and then was released. Later, however, he received a further summons by telephone. The same evening, his wife and her brother were arrested and have been detained since.
Mostafaei’s current whereabouts are not known. On the evening of July 24, he wrote on his Facebook account: “it is possible they will arrest me.”
Amnesty International is urging its membership to appeal to the head of the Iranian Judiciary and other authorities to stop harassing Mostafaei and release Fereshteh and Farhad Halimi.