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

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

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


    An Iranian woman will not be stoned to death for adultery, after her lawyer's blog posts sparked a global campaign to save her life.
    But 12 other women and three men still face a death sentence by stoning in the theocractic Middle East country, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.
    Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Kurdish woman, was facing imminent execution before an apparent last-minute reprieve.
    The Iranian Embassy in London said Ashtiani would no longer face death by stoning, according to Channel 4 News and The Guardian newspaper. A message seeking comment from the embassy was not immediately returned, and it was not immediately clear if Ashtiani still faced death by other means.
    "According to information from the relevant judicial authorities in Iran, she will not be executed by stoning punishment," the embassy said in the statement reported by Channel 4 News and The Guardian.
    Ashtiani's face, framed in a black chador, stared from the front page of The Times of London on Thursday, while The Guardian carried an interview with Ashtiani's children 22-year-old Sajad and 17-year-old Farideh who described the sentence as a nightmare. Protests are planned in front of the Iranian Embassy over the weekend.
    Stoning is a "medieval punishment which has no role in the modern world", British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters Thursday. "If the punishment is carried out, it will disgust and appall the watching world," Hague said in a media conference with Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in London.
    He appealed to Tehran to halt the planned execution.
    Celebrities including Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, and Robert Redford have already signed on to the campaign to push for her release, according to The Times, which also quoted US Senator John Kerry and Howard Berman, the chairman of the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, as expressing their disgust at the sentence.
    Even Lindsay Lohan publicised the case, becoming one of hundreds of Twitter users rallying the online world to Ashtiani's defence.
    Under Iran's Islamic laws, adultery is the only capital offense punishable by stoning. A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck. Those carrying out the verdict then pelt the convict with stones until he or she dies.
    Stoning was widely imposed in the years following the revolution, and even though Iran's judiciary still regularly hands down such sentences, they are often converted to fines. The last known stoning was carried out in 2008, although the government rarely confirms that such punishments have been meted out.
    "It's possible that the numbers are much higher than has been reported," said Faraz Sanei, an Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, one of several groups publicizing Ashtiani's case.

    The rights group said she was first convicted in May of 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men following the death of her husband for which a court in Tabriz, in north-western Iran, sentenced her to 99 lashes. But later that year she was also convicted of adultery, despite having retracted a confession which she claims was made under duress.
    That Ashtiani's plight has received unusually wide play might be attributable to the determined work of Germany-based activist Mina Ahadi as well as to the internet savvy of Ashtiani's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, a prolific blogger, Sanei said.
    In one of his recent posts, Mostafaei warned that his client could be executed at any time without notice, Sanei said.
    Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, told reporters in the British capital that his country would raise the issue with Iran.

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    new Iran Grills Mom Sentenced to Stoning

    Iranian authorities have been interrogating Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two who garnered international attention when she was sentenced to death by stoning last month on charges of adultery. Authorities want to know who helped Sakineh spread her story to the media, and have warned her that if...

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    new Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani: 'Confession' Likely Obtained By Torture

    Iranian state television broadcasts video of Iranian woman who had faced death by stoning for adultery, where she purportedly admits to being an unwitting accomplice to her husband's murder.


    This undated image made available by Amnesty International in London shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.
    AP/Amnesty International

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) A lawyer for an Iranian woman who had faced death by stoning on an adultery conviction said Thursday he suspects she was tortured into confessing that she was an unwitting accomplice to her husband's murder.

    Iranian state television broadcast the purported confession of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, on Wednesday night in an apparent attempt to deflect criticism of her case by the U.S., other countries and rights groups. Instead of the adultery charge, it focused on allegations she was involved in murder something the U.S. and other countries also punish by death.

    Human Rights Watch has said Ashtiani, a mother of two, was first convicted in May 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the death of her husband and was sentenced by a court to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned to death, even though she retracted a confession that she claims was made under duress.

    Iran last month lifted the stoning sentence for the time being after international outrage over the brutality of the punishment. Iran says Ashtiani has also been convicted of involvement in the murder of her husband. She could still be executed by hanging.

    The outcry over the case is the latest source of friction between Iran and the international community, with the United States, Britain and human rights groups urging Tehran to stay the execution. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Iran this week to release all political prisoners and expressed alarm about several specific detainees, including Ashtiani. Brazil, which has friendly relations with Iran, offered her asylum.

    In the broadcast, the woman identified as Ashtiani said she unwittingly played a role in her husband's murder. Her face was blurred and a woman who was not seen translated her words into Farsi from Azeri Turkish, which is spoken in parts of Iran.

    "I established telephone contacts with a man in 2005," she said. "He deceived me by his language. ... He told me, 'Let's kill your husband.' I could not believe at all that my husband would be killed. I thought he was joking. ... Later I learned that killing was his profession." She said the man, whom she did not identify, brought electrical devices, wire and gloves to her house and electrocuted her husband while she watched.

    Malek Ajdar Sharifi, a senior judiciary official, was quoted by state TV as part of the same report as alleging that Ashtiani had given her husband an injection that left him unconscious, then the man attached electrical devices to his neck and killed him.

    Sharifi also said Ashtiani sent her children out of the house to clear the way for her husband's murder.

    Ashtiani's lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, denied she has ever been charged with murder or brought to trial over her husband's killing in 2005.

    "She was tortured to make those confessions," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. He came to that conclusion, he said, because she has never before admitted to any role in the murder.

    "There is no charge of murder in her file," he said. "She would have been hanged years ago if she had any role in the murder of her husband," he added. "She had absolutely no role in the murder."

    The lawyer said the man's killer spent three years in prison and is now free after a pardon from Ashtiani's children.

    Rights groups criticized the broadcast of her statement, calling it one of many forced confessions in Iran's justice system.

    Rights groups say Iran uses forced confessions in trials against political prisoners, including in the mass trial of more than 100 activists and former government officials accused of taking part in last year's postelection unrest.

    "This so-called confession forms part of growing catalog of other forced confessions and self-incriminating statements made by many detainees in the past year," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    Kian said he was not allowed to meet with his client since the broadcast confession.

    "I was told that my client is barred from receiving people," he said.

    In the broadcast, the woman also criticized her previous lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, for publicizing her case.

    "Why did he televise the case? Why did he discredit me before my family members and relatives who didn't know I'm in jail?" she said. "Now, I have a complaint against him."

    Mostafaei maintained a blog that sparked a worldwide campaign to free his client. In July, Iranian authorities said they would not carry out the stoning sentence for the time being. The lawyer fled to Norway, where he has applied for asylum.

    Stoning was widely imposed in the years after the 1979 Islamic revolution, and even though Iran's judiciary still regularly hands down such sentences, they are often converted to other punishments.

    The last known stoning was carried out in 2007, although the government rarely confirms that such punishments have been meted out.

    Under Islamic rulings, a man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her chest with her hands also buried. Those carrying out the verdict then throw stones until the condemned dies.

    Ashtiani's stoning was approved by the country's Supreme Court, but the law could allow the judiciary head to order another trial or appeal for a pardon from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

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    Default Iran TV airs 'confession' from woman facing stoning

    Iran TV airs 'confession' from woman facing stoning



    Iranian TV has aired what it says is a confession by a woman under threat of being stoned to death.
    In the broadcast, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani admits complicity in murder and denounces her lawyer, who has fled Iran.

    Ms Ashtiani's case prompted international outrage when she was initially sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

    Her death sentence was then temporarily halted by the authorities.
    The confession was aired on one of the main channels of state TV.

    There was no mention of the stoning sentence and the focus was moved away from the allegation of adultery, to a claim that she was complicit in a plot to murder her husband.

    In the televised statement, which was made in Azeri and dubbed into Persian, she admitted her part in the murder, despite earlier telling Western media that she had been acquitted of the charge.

    She said her husband's cousin had told her he wanted to kill her husband, but that she had assumed this was a joke.

    "Later I realised that he was a killer," she said in the Iranian TV broadcast.
    One day the man had come to her house "with all the required equipment. He had brought electric devices, wire and gloves. He then killed my husband by electrocuting him. He asked me before to send my children to their grandmother's house."

    Ms Ashtiani also criticised her lawyer, Mohammed Mostafaie, for interfering in her case.

    "Why has he taken my case to the TV? Why has he disgraced me?" she said.

    Mr Mostafaie has now sought asylum in Norway.

    Another of Ms Ashtiani's lawyers has said that she was tortured for two days in prison to force her to make her confession.

    Human rights activists fear that she is now in danger of imminent execution.

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    Default Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death

    Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death



    Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, has also been sentenced to 99 lashes for a photo published of her without a headscarf, according to her son.

    In an interview published on the website of the French magazine La Regle du Jeu and the blog Dentelles et Tchador, Mohammadi-Ashtiani's son Sajjad said they learned of the new punishment from released inmates.

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    Default Vatican decries stoning in Iran adultery case as 'brutal'*

    Vatican decries stoning in Iran adultery case as 'brutal'*

    The Vatican raised the possibility Sunday of using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to try to save the life of an Iranian widow sentenced to be stoned for adultery.

    In its first public statement on the case, which has attracted worldwide attention, the Vatican decried stoning as a particularly brutal form of capital punishment.

    Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Catholic church opposes the death penalty in general.

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    Default Vatican contacts Iran over stoning case

    Vatican contacts Iran over stoning case

    THE Vatican revealed tonight it was in touch with Tehran "through diplomatic channels" over the controversy surrounding the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

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    Default Pope 'may appeal' in Iran stoning

    Pope 'may appeal' in Iran stoning

    The Vatican says it could appeal diplomatically to Iran to spare the life of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

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    Default Iran 'stoning woman' to be lashed over photo: son

    Iran 'stoning woman' to be lashed over photo: son

    An Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery now faces 99 lashes after the publication of a photo which claimed to show her without a headscarf.

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    Default Son: Iranian woman who faced stoning will be lashed

    Son: Iranian woman who faced stoning will be lashed

    An Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery is now facing a new punishment of 99 lashes because a British newspaper ran ...

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