Many cities took part in the event to fight what organizers and participants described as a method of state-sponsored terrorism used by Iran to silence domestic critics and “keep women in their place.”
The events were held in cities from Nairobi to Sydney to Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
The protest day was marked by presentations of the stories of Iranians Sakineh Mouhamadi Ashiany and Zeinab Jalalian, both of whom face execution by stoning. Ashiany’s case has drawn worldwide attention mainly because she was sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery, a crime that allegedly occurred after her husband was already dead.
Ashiany’s case is shrouded in uncertainty and conflicting reports, and Teheran has denied that her crime was adultery or that she faced execution by stoning.
Organizers screened films about stoning in Iran and attendees wrote letters to 25 condemned women facing the brutal punishment in the Islamic Republic.
According to Middle East analyst Meir Javedanfar, stoning “is a barbaric act that has no place in this day and age,” and is a method of intimidation wielded by the rulers of Iran.
Stoning is practiced in Iran “as a show of strength by a regime that feels more and more weakened. They are trying to create a deterrent and it shows how desperate they are becoming,” Javedanfar said.
He added that stoning and other types of violence are used as a means of “keeping women in their place,” largely because of the prominent role that many women played in the demonstrations last year against the tainted Iranian presidential election.
“The government is particularly afraid of women because many were at the forefront of demonstrations last year. The government is trying to send a message to women,” he said.
Stoning is practiced in countries across the Muslim world, though not always with state approval. The punishment is typically meted out to adulterers and involves the victim being buried in the ground to her neck or chest and hit with rocks until she is dead.