Iranian woman sentenced to stoning 'repents' on state TV

Woman with face blurred and words voiced over purporting to be Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani says "I am a sinner."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 16, 2010 14:55
2 minute read.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani . (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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TEHERAN, Iran — Iranian state television on Monday broadcast a purported statement by an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in which she calls herself a "sinner."

The stoning sentence against the 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been put on hold and is now being reviewed by Iran's supreme court, but she still faces a possible death sentence by other means.

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The outcry over the case is one of the latest thorns in Iran's relationship with the international community, as the US, EU and international human rights groups have urged Teheran to stay the execution.

A woman identified as Ashtiani said in the state TV report: "I am a sinner." Her face was blurred and her words were voiced over in what the TV report said was a translation into Farsi from Azeri Turkish, which is spoken in parts of Iran.

The report also broadcast purported statements by two men whose faces were blurred that state TV identified as Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Qaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, both of whom were arrested last month. It also aired comments from two Germans who were detained allegedly while trying to interview Ashtiani's family in October.

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. Ashtiani has also been convicted of involvement in the death of her husband, whom Iranian prosecutors say was murdered. She could still face execution by hanging in the two cases.



Her family and lawyer have said in the past that Ashtiani was tortured while in custody.

In the state TV report, Qaderzadeh retracted his previous allegations that his mother was tortured, and criticized Kian and Ashtiani's previous lawyer — who fled to Norway this summer — for publicizing the case.

The broadcast of the purported statements appeared to be an attempt by Teheran to deflect international criticism of the case and focus attention instead on the West by accusing it of stirring up controversy over the case to damage the reputation of Iran's Islamic leadership.

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