Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani .
(photo credit: Associated Press)
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."
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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.
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
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.