Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani Will Not Be Stoned to Death
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Will Still Be Sentenced to Death, But the Iranian Embassy in London Has Confirmed it Will Not Be Death by Stoning
As reported by Channel 4 and confirmed by the Iranian Embassy in London, 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani will not be stoned to death after an international campaign to save her was launched.
This is a shallow victory however, as she still faces the death penalty and will be put to death by another means.
Her son, 22-year-old Sajad Ghader-zade, started the campaign to save his mother who was convicted of the crime of adultery in 2006 after receiving 99 lashes. She later retracted her confession and denied any act of adultery, but the ruling was upheld in 2007 by Iran's supreme court. According to the BBC she was convicted of having 'illicit relationships' with two men after the death of her husband.
The Iranian Embassy has issued the following statement:
"Considering the statements made by the Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt on an Iranian national, Mrs Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, and her execution, hereby this mission denies the false news aired in this respect and notifies the Ministry that according to information from the relevant judicial authorities in Iran, she will not be executed by stoning punishment.
"It is notable that this kind of punishment has rarely been implemented in Iran and various means and remedies must be probed and exhausted to finally come up with such a punishment.
"It should be added that the stoning punishment has not been cited in the draft Islamic Penal Code being deliberated in the Iranian Parliament.
"The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran highly recommends that news and reports should not be taken for granted and considered a reliable source of information for official statements or misjudgements."
According to Human Right Watch's Middle East women's right researcher Nadya Khalife who spoke to Channel 4 news, about 15 people have been saved from stoning deaths since 2006 due to international pressure. She said that in Iran stonings do happen but they are not as common as some would think.
"There are a few cases every year – but every case is abhorrent and this is an unacceptable form of punishment.