Film tells the story of a young woman's hidden stoning in Iran


A new film, The Stoning of Soraya M., that features the story of an Iranian woman who faced torture and death, has been released on the heels of Iran's political unrest.

The film is based on a true story from the late Freidoune Sahebjam's book, "The Stoning of Soraya M.," which first brought global attention to the real Soraya, who in 1986 was buried to her waist in her hometown square and stoned to death by her fellow villagers.

Cyrus Nowrasteh, who adapted the book with his wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, directed the film.

"At its heart, this movie is a human drama filled with tension, peril and hope – but it is also a true story that I felt strongly had to be told, a story the whole world needs to know," said Nowrasteh.

Zahra (Academy Award® nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo "House of Sand and Fog") is an Iranian woman who meets a French journalist (Jim Caviezel, "The Passion Of The Christ,") and exposes a brutal tradition in her village.  Her niece Soraya, the victim, was stoned to death.

Soraya's husband, Ali, finds another girl and wants to marry her — she is 14 years old.  He then falsely accuses Soraya of cheating.  The punishment is to be buried waist deep while the men in the village throw stones at her.

Zahra is the brave woman standing up to the men.

Some reports suggest 1,000 women have been stoned in the last 15 years in a number of countries including Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2002, the United States Congress condemned execution by stoning, noting, "women around the world continue to be disproportionately targeted for discriminatory, inhuman and cruel punishments."

The movie's underlying theme perhaps is that one courageous voice can make a difference.

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