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Thread: Death by stoning in Iran: international outrage leads to last-minute reprieve

  1. #21
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    Iranian stoning woman not executed as feared, activist says

    TEHRAN has accused the West of trying to pressurise it over the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, as an exiled activist said the woman was not executed today as feared.

    "They (Western nations) have become so shameless that they have turned the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has committed crime and treason, into a human rights case against our nation," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

    "It has become a symbol of women's freedom in Western nations and with impudence they want to free her. Thus, they are trying to use this ordinary case as a pressure lever against our nation," he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

    "The other side is only looking for pretexts against the Islamic establishment and if ... we give into their demands they will assert, so there will be nothing left of the revolution and the establishment," Mehmanparast said on state news agency IRNA.

    His assertion came after exiled Iranian rights activist Mina Ahadi triggered fresh outcry in the West after voicing fears that Mohammadi-Ashtiani could be executed as early as today.

    Speaking from her base in Germany, the activist said that Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a mother-of-two, "was not executed today."

    "Execution time (for the day) has now passed, so it won't happen today (Wednesday). But the danger remains and it could still happen at any time," Ahadi of the International Committee Against Stoning said.

    "Some countries have been in contact with Iranian government representatives. It is clear that all this attention played a role.

    "But the execution has been delayed, not canceled."

    She said that according to sources in Iran, Mohammadi-Ashtiani's name was on a list of people to be executed in the coming days or weeks drawn up by Iran's Supreme Court.

    This was communicated by letter to the prison in Tabriz, northwest Iran, where she is being held, Ms Ahadi added.

    But France said it was informed by Iran that a final decision on Mohammadi-Ashtiani's execution was still pending.

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement that he spoke to his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki who told him that the "final verdict in the Sakineh Ashtiani case has not been announced by the Iranian judiciary and that news about her possible execution was not based on reality."

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague meanwhile urged Iran to call off the planned execution.

    "This is a barbaric punishment and I think it will damage Iran in the eyes of the world," Mr Hague told journalists after meeting Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    "I would urge them, even now, to desist from it."

    Mehmanparast also charged that the West was using "the media as a tool" to tighten the screws on Iran, which also faces wide-ranging international sanctions to pressure it to halt its nuclear drive.

    The West accuses Tehran of seeking to build an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program, a charge Iran vehemently denies.

    Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by two different courts in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

    The first death sentence, by hanging, for her involvement in the murder of her husband, was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

    But the second, by stoning, was on a charge of adultery leveled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, and was upheld by another appeals court the same year.

    Mohammadi-Ashtiani's case raised further international controversy when her son Sajjad Qaderzadeh and lawyer were arrested last month in Iran, along with two German nationals.

    The Germans were reportedly interviewing the son when they were arrested. The two were granted consular access in late October.

    Since July, Iran has repeatedly said the stoning sentence of Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been stayed pending a final decision.

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  2. #22
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    Iran stoning woman could be spared death penalty

    THERE is a "good chance" that the life of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery could be spared, the head of Iran's High Human Rights Council has said.

    "Our judiciary made a lot of efforts [in reviewing the case] and we think there is a good chance her life could be saved," Mohammed Javad Larijani told Iran's English-language Press TV.

    Larijani did not give details of the judiciary's review of the Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani case or the basis of his optimism that her life would be spared.

    His council works under the judiciary's auspices.

    The sentence handed down against Ms Ashtiani sparked international outrage and diplomatic intervention by several Western governments as well as the Vatican.

    In July, Tehran said that the sentence to death by stoning had been stayed pending a full review of her case.

    Ms Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was initially given death sentences by two different courts in the northwestern city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

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  3. #23
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    Iran 'frees stoning woman'

    IRAN has freed a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, her son and her lawyer, a German-based campaign group said today.

    "We have got news from Iran that they are free," Mina Ahadi, spokeswoman for the Anti-Stoning Committee said.

    "We are waiting for another confirmation: apparently there will be a program this evening on (Iranian) television and then we will be 100 per cent sure."

    Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was initially given death sentences by two different courts in the northwestern city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

    A sentence to hang for her involvement in the murder of her husband was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

    But a second sentence, to death by stoning on charges of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.

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    Iran stoning woman to sue German journalists


    An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery says she will sue two German journalists who have been jailed in Iran for interviewing her son.


    "I have told [my son] Sajjad to sue the ones who have disgraced me and the country," Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani told reporters in the north-western city of Tabriz where she was tried.


    Ashtiani was briefly allowed out of prison to have dinner with her two children.


    Following the dinner, she told reporters that she was not tortured while in prison, adding "these are all rumours".


    She named those she wants to sue as "the two Germans", along with her former lawyer Mohammad Mostafaie, Germany-based anti-stoning campaigner Mina Ahadi and her late husband's convicted murderer Issa Taheri.


    "I have a complaint against them," she said.


    The two German journalists from Bild am Sonntag were arrested on October 10 for interviewing Ashtiani's son and family lawyer, who were also taken into custody.


    Iran says the two entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain the necessary accreditation for journalists from the authorities before "posing as reporters" when they contacted her family.


    Ashtiani, who has been jailed since 2006, was speaking to foreign media based in Iran at a brief conference organised by judiciary officials.

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    Son pleas for life of Iranian woman sentenced to death


    The son of an Iranian woman convicted of adultery and helping her lover murder her husband has asked the authorities to spare her life.


    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's sentence of death by stoning after being convicted of adultery in 2006 was commuted last July. But reports emerged in September that Iranian courts were instead considering hanging her for her husband's murder.


    Sajjad Ghaderzadeh said his family had lost its father, and did not want to lose its mother as well.

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  6. #26
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    Iranian mother could still avoid stoning


    A SENIOR judiciary official says an Iranian mother's sentence of death by stoning could be quashed, pointing out that ambiguities remain in her case.


    The head of East Azerbaijan's judiciary said yesterday "anything is possible" when asked by Fars news agency whether Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's sentence for adultery could be overturned.


    Malek Ajdar Sharifi's remark came a day after Mohammadi Ashtiani appeared before a group of journalists working for international news networks during what judiciary officials called an "out of prison" visit to her family.


    The journalists were not allowed to ask her questions during the meeting, which took place in the presence of judiciary officials at a guest house in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province.


    His statement also came after Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, Mohammadi Ashtiani's son, pleaded before foreign media that her execution by stoning be stayed.

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