An Iranian woman has been sentenced to six years of jail for writing a fictional unpublished story about stoning, according to reports Thursday. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading propaganda against the system.”
In her story, Ebrahimi Iraee wrote about a young woman who watched “The Stoning of Soraya M” — a 2008 movie based on a true story of a young Iranian woman stoned to death — and is so infuriated by the punishment that she burns a copy of the Quran.
According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities found her piece in September 2014. Following this, Ebrahimi Iraee and her husband Arash Sadeghi were arrested in Tehran by men believed to be from the Revolutionary Guard. At the time, officials reportedly interrogated the writer while keeping her blindfolded and told her that she could face execution for “insulting Islam.”
On Tuesday, Iranian officials ordered Ebrahimi Iraee to hand herself over to Tehran’s Evin Prison and start serving her six-year jail term.
“They [Iranian authorities] haven’t issued a written summons [as required by the law],” Ebrahimi Iraee told Voice of America’s Persian arm. “They called me using the telephone of one of my friends, Navid Kamran; they had gone to his shop to arrest him and they called me from there to summon me.”
Sadeghi is already serving 15 years on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system,” “gathering and colluding against national security” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.”
Amnesty International called the charges against Ebrahimi Iraee “ludicrous” and the trial “farcical.”
“She is facing years behind bars simply for writing a story, and one which was not even published — she is effectively being punished for using her imagination,” Philip Luther, research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
“Instead of imprisoning a young woman for peacefully exercising her human rights by expressing her opposition to stoning, the Iranian authorities should focus on abolishing this punishment, which amounts to torture. It is appalling that Iran continues to allow the use of stoning, and justifies it in the name of protecting morality,” Luther said.
Iran has been criticized for using stoning as a method of execution against women accused of committing adultery. In 2010, the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani — initially handed out a death sentence by stoning — received global attention and triggered outrage. Following this, Iran said Ashtiani would not be stoned and she was pardoned and freed in March 2014 after being on death row for nine years.