Film Tells Story of Hidden Stonings in Iran

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The story of another Iranian woman who faced torture and death has been made into a movie.

The creator of The Stoning Soraya M. hopes the film will open the world's eyes to a brutal practice that is still taking place today.

Zahra is an Iranian woman who meets a French journalist and exposes a brutal tradition in her village.  Her niece Soraya was stoned to death.

The gripping story is the focus of the feature film directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh.

"In modern-day Iran,  the victim is accused of a crime.  Usually it's adultery or sex-related crime, for which stoning is the punishment," he explained.  "And it is usually women who are the victim."

In this film the victim is Soraya.

Her husband, Ali, wants to dump her and marry a 14-year-old.  He then falsely accuses Soraya of cheating.  The punishment is being buried waist deep while the men in the village throw stones at her.

And this is a true story based on an international best-seller first published in 1994.    

Zahra is the brave woman standing up to the men.

She's portrayed by Shoreh Aghdashloo -- who actually left Iran 30 years ago, shortly before the islamic revolution.

Turning the light on a dark injustice is what moved big name stars like Jim Caviezel to be a part of the independent film.

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.

*Originally published June 26, 2009    

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