Iranian Woman Sentenced To Stoning Death 'Confesses' On TV

8.12.10 – TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian state television broadcast a purported confession by a woman who had faced death by stoning for adultery, a case that has drawn U.S. concern, an offer of asylum from Brazil and international protests.

Human Rights Watch says Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, was first convicted in May 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband and was sentenced by a court to 99 lashes. Later that year she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession which she claims was made under duress.

Iran last month lifted the stoning sentence for the time being after global outrage over the brutality of the punishment. Ashtiani has also been charged with murder and she could still face execution by hanging for adultery and other offenses.

Iranian officials said publicly earlier this month that Ashtiani had been charged with murder, although it was not clear when that occurred.

The outcry over the death sentence is the latest source of friction between Iran and the international community, with the United States, Britain and human rights groups all urging Tehran to stay the execution. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Iran this week to release all political prisoners and expressed alarm about several specific detainees, including Ashtiani. Brazil offered asylum to the mother of two.

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August 12th, 2010

Jimmy Kilpatrick

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