Fatemeh Derakhshandeh Tosarvanda is in danger of being sent back to Iran from Canada, where she could be stoned to death for an adultery charge, the Toronto Star reports.
Tosarvanda came to Toronto in 2010 to seek asylum from her estranged husband, Mahmoud Hafezi Mashhadi, but her claim was denied by Canada Border Service Agency last October, allegedly because her husband had Tehran officials charge her with adultery. Under Sharia law, adultery is punishable by death, and stoning has been the method used in past cases.
In 2010, Brazil's president offered asylum to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who had been sentenced to death by stoning. An International led to a stay of execution for Ashtiani, though the Iranian government says they still plan to carry it out by hanging.
But it's not only presidents fighting back. Nazanin Afshin-Jam, wife of Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay, collaborated on a book this year with journalist Susan McClelland, "The Tale Of Two Nazanins." It tells of Afshin-Jam's campaign to free Nazanin Fatehi, an Iranian woman who was sentenced to death for stabbing and killing a man who was trying to rape her.
Although Fatehi was eventually released from prison, thanks in large part to Afshin-Jam's work, she disappeared right after. As Afghin-Jam told the National Post:
“[No] one in Iran knows where she is. That’s where the dark part of my imagination takes over. If I had written this book years ago it could have ended with a happily ever after and it doesn’t, and I guess that speaks to the human rights problems that persist in Iran.”
In the Tosarvanda's case, a law that requires a year to pass from the time of receiving a negative claim could mean she'll be sent back to Iran by the end of September, the Star reports. Relations between Canada and Iran have been strained since Canada closed its embassy in Iran and removed its diplomats from the country.