No mercy. “NOT free: Iran dashes hopes that woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery has been released,” from the Daily Mail, December 10 (thanks to Alan of England):
An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has not been freed, state television said on Friday, quashing a rumour that brought joy to human rights campaigners around the world.
Press TV said on its website that ‘contrary to a vast publicity campaign by Western media that confessed murderer Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been released’, she was still in custody.
The Iranian English language news channel confirmed that an interview it did with Ms Ashtiani – the apparent source of the rumour – was filmed at her home. However Ms Ashtiani, who is said to be illiterate, was then taken back to prison.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s husband was murdered in 2005 and the following year his wife was convicted of having an ‘illicit relationship’ with two men.
The mother of two 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.
Ms Ashtiani’s sentence to be stoned for adultery – the only crime which carries that penalty under Iran’s Islamic sharia law – was suspended after an international outcry by both Western countries and some others that have warm relations with Iran.
The European Union called it ‘barbaric’, the Vatican pleaded for clemency and Brazil, which has tried to intervene in Iran’s stand-off with the West over its nuclear programme, offered Ms Ashtiani asylum….
Press TV said Ms Ashtiani had confessed and been found guilty of murdering her husband in collusion with her lover. In one clip she is seen to way: ‘We planned to kill my husband.’
Three interviews with Ms Ashtiani have been broadcast by state media since this summer in which she appears to confess to murder and adultery. But the validity of them has been questioned.
Iran executed 388 people last year, more than any other country apart from China.
Last week Iran went ahead with the execution of Khadijeh Shahla Jahed who was convicted of murdering the wife of a national football star, ignoring the protests of groups like Amnesty International.
She was hanged despite repeatedly retracted the confession during her trial.
Ten Iranian women and four men are still on death row awaiting execution by stoning.
Hopes Ms Ashtiani could be freed were raised when last month Mohammed Javad Larijani, an adviser to the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, told Press TV: ‘Our judiciary made a lot of efforts in reviewing the case and we think there is a good chance her life could be saved.’ […]
While a resolution to the nuclear stand-off appears remote, the Ms Ashtiani case has further strained relations with the West, with Tehran saying international media have manipulated the story to demonise the Islamic Republic….
Of course. They are going to stone a woman to death, and the media is “demonizing” the Islamic Republic by…reporting that they’re going to stone a woman to death.