Iran backing down on woman's stoning

2010-07-09 20:16

London - Iran appeared on Friday to have backed down over the stoning of a woman for adultery amid an international outcry, although her lawyer said she remained in jail and could still be executed by other means.

The Iranian embassy in London said in a statement reported by The Times that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani would no longer be stoned to death, a practice condemned by Western governments as "medieval" and tantamount to torture.

The embassy said that "according to information from the relevant judicial authorities in Iran, (Mohammadi-Ashtiani) will not be executed by stoning."

Her lawyer in Iran, however, said he had yet to receive any confirmation of the news, and bemoaned the vagueness of the statement which did not say whether she might be killed by other means.

"I have yet to be told of any stay in implementation of the sentence," Mohammad Mostafavi told AFP by telephone. "My client remains in prison."

The embassy did not elaborate on whether her conviction had been quashed or the sentence had been commuted to an alternative form of capital punishment - in Iran normally hanging from a crane inside prison walls.

"It didn't say the verdict had been overturned, so is she going to face some alternative punishment, is she going to be released or will there be a retrial?" Mostafavi said.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani, 43, was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men and received 99 lashes, before being convicted of adultery and sentenced to death, according to Amnesty International.

The rights group warned on July 1 that the mother-of-two's execution may be "imminent" and in the past week, the European Union, Britain, France and the United States have urged the Iranian authorities to stay the execution.

Condemnation

An open letter condemning the execution has also been signed by figures such as former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, three ex-British foreign ministers, Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta and actor Robert De Niro.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, urged Iran to spare Mohammadi-Ashtiani's life, saying a "mere change" in the method of execution was not enough.

"To punish - and in some cases execute - people for being in consenting relationships is no business of the state," the Amnesty official said.

The rights group said it was aware of at least 10 other people - including seven women - under sentence of stoning.

On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that if the "medieval" execution went ahead it would "disgust and appal" the world.

"I think that stoning is a medieval punishment that has no place in the modern world and the continued use of such a punishment in Iran demonstrates in our view a blatant disregard for human rights," he said.

In Washington the same day, US state department spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters: "Stoning as a means of execution is tantamount to torture. It's barbaric and an abhorrent act."

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said stoning was "a particularly cruel method of execution which amounts to torture", while French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the case "offends the universal conscience".

A host of prominent names from the worlds of politics and arts, including actor Robert Redford and philosopher Bernard Henri Levy, signed an open letter Friday in The Times.

"On top of what she has already endured, Ms Ashtiani faces a gruesome and agonising death," said the letter.

"We urge the Iranian government to overturn this unjust sentence and reconsider Ms Ashtiani's case."

Read more on:    iran
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.