An update on this story. Just yesterday, reports said the sentence was pending, but authorities acted much more quickly — more eagerly — than that. The swiftness with which this ridiculous sentence was carried out suggests authorities are in a hurry: either they wanted to carry out the penalty before questions about the picture gained traction, or they have something else in mind. Perhaps both.
“Lawyer: Iran woman could be stoned to death soon,” by Nasser Karimi for the Associated Press, September 6:
TEHRAN, Iran – The lawyer for an Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned on an adultery conviction said Monday that he and her children are worried the delayed execution could be carried out soon with the end of a moratorium on death sentences for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In an unusual turn in the case, the lawyer also confirmed that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was lashed 99 times last week in a separate punishment meted out because a British newspaper ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as her. Under Iran’s clerical rule, women must cover their hair in public. The newspaper later apologized for the error.
With the end of Ramadan this week, the mother of two could be executed “any moment,” said her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian.
The sentence was put on hold in July after an international outcry over the brutality of the punishment, and it is now being reviewed by Iran’s supreme court.
Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men after the murder of her husband the year before and was sentenced at that time to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress.
“The possibility of stoning still exists, any moment,” Kian told The Associated Press. “Her stoning sentence was only delayed; it has not been lifted yet.”
Italy is among several countries pressing for Iran to show flexibility in the case. The country’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said the Italian ambassador in Iran met with authorities in Tehran who “confirmed to us that no decision has been made” about the stoning sentence.
“I interpret that in the sense that the stoning, for now, won’t take place,” Frattini said in an interview on Italian state TV.
Until it does. And Ramadan ends this week.
After putting the stoning sentence on hold, Iran suddenly announced that the woman had also been brought to trial and convicted of playing a role in her husband’s 2005 murder. Her lawyer disputes that, saying no charges against her in the killing have ever been part of her case file.
In early August, Iranian authorities broadcast a purported confession from Ashtiani on state-run television. In it, a woman identified as Ashtiani admits to being an unwitting accomplice in her husband’s killing.
Kian says he believes she was tortured into confessing.
In the latest twist, authorities are said to have flogged her for the publication of a photo of a woman without her hair covered in the Times of London newspaper. The woman in the photo was misidentified as Ashtiani.
She was lashed on Thursday, Kian said, citing information from a fellow prisoner who was released last week. Kian has been allowed no direct contact with his client since last month….