Kobra N. Saved from Stoning after 13 Years

Women's Field: Kobra N.'s stoning sentence has been converted into one hundred lashes, according to a new verdict by the Head of Iranian Judiciary.

Marym Kiyan Ersi, Kobra's lawyer, announced the news to the reporters of Women's Field and added: "In response to the letter addressed to the Head of Judiciary in which I explained the current situation and the facts concerning Kobra Najar's case and requested amnesty for her, Ayatollah Shahroudi eventually ruled for the stoning verdict to be converted into hundred lashes."

The amnesty request of Kobra N. had been rejected by Iranian Commission of Amnesty three times and Kobra has spent the last 11 years in prison. Recently, she was transferred from Tabriz prison to Rajayee Shahr prison as a result of her children's application for transfer, where she suffered a stroke and spent her days under very difficult conditions.

Two years ago, Maryam Kiyan Ersi, her volunteer lawyer, had written in a letter to the Head of Judiciary, stating: "My client, Kobra N., is a 42 year old woman. She graduated from high school from Sanandaj, and married her husband in 1359 (1980). She is a mother of four. A short while after their marriage, Kobra's husband became addicted to opium, and began to abuse and torture her while threatening their children. In order to earn a living, he forced her to prostitution. Even more painful was the fact that Kobra's husband choose the man she had to sleep with, and would stay to observe the scene in case Kobra failed to satisfy the customer. As punishment for not obeying his orders, Kobra's husband would physically and verbally abuse and torture Kobra as well as beat their young children. In order to protect herself and her children, Kobra obeyed her husband until her fourth child was born, at which time, considering the living circumstances had degenerated to such a degree, she decided to divorce him. However, because Kobra was forced by law to leave her two daughters with her husband in case of divorce, she had no choice but to go back and continue her life as before."

She added: "In 1374 (1995) my client met Habib, a man whom her husband had brought home. Kobra confiding in Habib and confessing to him her problems, and afterwards, Habib killed Kobra's husband. Although he was sentenced to death, because the family of the husband gave their consent to receive blood money, Habib was released. Kobra N., however, was accused of serving as accomplice to murder, for which she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment; and obstruction of justice by covering up facts on the murder case, for which she was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Furthermore, Kobra was also accused of adultery and sentenced to stoning. She has spent the last 11 years of her life in prison in Tabriz, serving her imprisonment sentence and awaiting execution of her stoning sentence. Despite repentance and request for amnesty, her requests have been denied three times by the Commission of Amnesty."

The closing part of the letter asks: "Is it fair for a mother, a victim of forced prostitution, who did everything she could to safeguard her children from harm, to be sentenced to stoning and to be deprived from seeing her children for 11 years? Considering the facts of her case , the evidence, and documents provided, it would be highly appreciated to reconsider if possible her crime and give her amnesty in order to end the nightmares of a woman who has spent the last 11 years in prison awaiting her death."

Last week, the Stop Stoning Campaign issued a statement expressing concern over the stoning verdicts of 10 cases, 8 of which were women. By removing Kobra's name from the list, we are now focusing on the nine remaining cases.

The Spokesman of the Judiciary, in a press conference last week, emphasized that during the first week of Day (last week of December) 3 men were stoned in a cemetery in Mash'had.

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