Iran Still Stoning Women, Says Nobel Laureate
Mark Willacy, ABC News:
A leading Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Laureate says that the hardline Islamic regime is still using medieval punishments on its people, including the stoning of women for adultery and the torture of dissidents.
Shirin Ebadi has also attacked last week's presidential election, saying the result is not a true reflection of the will of the people. READ MORE
Ms Ebadi strikes fear into the hearts of the hardline clerics who run Iran's Islamic regime.
A graduate of solitary confinement in one of the regime's jails, the Nobel Laureate refused to vote in last week's presidential election.
She is angry that the powerful, but unelected, Guardian Council disqualified hundreds of Iranians from standing in the poll.
"Whoever wants to become a candidate should have the right to become a candidate, including women," she said through a translator.
"Candidates should be from different ranges of thought. For instance in Iran if someone is a socialist he or she cannot be a candidate.
"Or if anyone is critical of the constitution, he or she is barred from standing.
"The most important issue is that people are not free to chose the election candidates. The candidates need to be approved first by the Guardian Council."
Ms Ebadi is one of just a few Iranians brave enough to speak out against the regime.
She has represented family members of murdered dissidents, women on death row for adultery, and writers accused of blaspheming the regime.
"At the moment some of the journalists and writers are in prison," she said.
"Two of my clients, because they expressed their opinions, they are in prison and they are now on a hunger strike. They are in bad physical condition and I am worried."
In Tehran's main bazaar there was a standard response when AM asked about human rights.
"Ask me another question," said one woman.
But one man was willing to answer the question.
"Human rights are important to me and it's an issue for our country because human rights are not practised in Iran," he says.
Ms Ebadi is particularly concerned about the treatment of women by the regime.
She cites the punishment meted out to women convicted of adultery.
"Unfortunately stoning exists in our law. According to the law, the punishment for adultery is to be stoned," she said.
"You bury the person up to their waist and then you throw small stones at them until they die. The stones should not be very big so that the person suffers before dying.
"I think this comes from the wrong interpretation of Islam."
Two Iranian women are facing imminent execution for adultery.
One is sentenced to flogging and then hanging while the other will be buried up to her waist and then stoned to death.