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Laureen Harper protests Iranian execution



OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife Laureen and Indigo president Heather Reisman have sent an open letter to Iran's president, calling on him to release a woman facing execution.

The letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says they are troubled by the flagrant disregard for women's rights in Iran.

A Germany-based rights organization reported this week that the hanging of 43-year-old mother Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was imminent.



Several high-ranking politicians around the world have spoken out about her case. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has said Canada is concerned about the denial of due process and harassment.

Harper and Reisman said the woman's case is "an affront to any sense of moral or human decency and is symbolic of the plight of Iranian women."

Mohammadi Ashtiani was originally sentenced in July to death by stoning on an adultery conviction, but the sentence was suspended following an international outcry.

Later, she appeared on Iranian television confessing to both adultery and the murder of her husband. Her lawyer has said she was tortured beforehand.

"In Canada, women enjoy all the same rights, benefits and freedoms as men," Harper and Reisman wrote.

"But with these rights also comes responsibilities; and as such we are morally obligated to speak out publically (sic) in defence of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and indeed all women in Iran."

They said freeing Mohammadi Ashtiani unconditionally would be seen around the world as "a deeply symbolic gesture toward the betterment of all Iranian women."

There are rumours that her execution is imminent, as early as a few days, however, Iran's foreign minister says there is still no final decision on the case against her and that authorities are still reviewing the verdict.

Source.
Tags: canada, iran, womens rights
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