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Iran/planned execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Published on September 7, 2010
Statements by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, during his joint press conference with Bernard-Henri Lévy, and Mohammad Mostafaei, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s lawyer (excerpts)

Paris, September 6, 2010

THE MINISTER – (…) This woman has been accused of adultery, of murdering her husband and sentenced to stoning. It’s an intolerable punishment and act, impossible even to imagine, it’s the height of barbarity and a return to the Middle Ages. I have to set this sentence in the context of the oppression, arrests, sentences and executions which followed the Iranian electoral process culminating in the election of President Ahmadinejad.

After this election, there was a particularly tough crackdown on the Green protest movement. But, if you don’t mind, let’s focus on Sakineh.

I know, Sir, that you defend a lot of defendants and dedicate your life to their freedom and defending human rights. In France, thanks to Bernard-Henri Lévy and his friends, Sakineh’s case has led to a huge protest by civil society, since this morning we reached 100,000 signatures.

On our side, the whole French political system has been alerted. There has been a huge number of protests, including, in the first place, by President Sarkozy, Mme Sarkozy and politicians on all sides.

We have alerted the whole of Europe, as well as many other countries across the world. As they did last Saturday, this Monday the 27 European Union countries will be talking about the course of action to take and what can be done to save Sakineh. We’re making it a national cause. President Sarkozy has said that France was acting as guarantor, that she had to defend Sakineh; as far as I’m concerned, I’m making it a personal cause and am ready to do everything to try and save her. And if I have to go to Tehran, I’ll go to Tehran. (…)./.

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