Information has been sparse from Tehran officials and details are conflicting today concerning the pending fate of 43 year old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman found guilty of adultery, subjected to 99 lashes and given the sentence of death by stoning, permissible under Islamic (Shari’a) law.
The world has been watching and waiting to learn of the fate of Ashtiani after Iran imposed an informational blackout following the massive outcry by organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch when the execution was believed to be imminent one month ago, the weekend of July 10th.
At this hour the Guardian UK, Great Britain’s version of U.S.A. Today by way of comparison, as well as CNN are reporting that the stoning sentence could be imposed again, while another British publication, the Daily Mail is claiming the sentence has already been reinstated.
The Guardian, claiming to have conducted an exclusive interview with the condemned woman through an unnamed intermediary, revealed that Ashtiani has pleaded for her son to be spared the spectacle of her stoning execution.
The latest reports have divulged additional information casting doubt on the veracity and coherence of Iran’s version of the narrative. What does seem to be the case it that the woman was found guilty of “having an illicit relationship outside of marriage” by a panel of five judges, although two of the panel members are said to have dissented.
The story Iranian officials are releasing now, is that the defendant was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her husband. Ashtiani and her lawyer concede that she was charged with, but exonerated of that crime.
“I was found guilty of adultery and was acquitted of murder, but the man who actually killed my husband was identified and imprisoned but he is not sentenced to death,” the woman, imprisoned since 2006, allegedly told the Guardian.
Ashtiani is also citing misogynistic treatment, claiming her case was dispatched by Iran in this manner “…because I’m a woman.”
Furthermore, she accuses her government of “lying” because “They are embarrassed by the international attention on my case and they are desperately trying to distract attention and confuse the media so that they can kill me in secret,” according to the same interview in the Guardian.
It is being alleged that the condemned’s lawyer has also faced mistreatment by the hard line Islamic regime. Mohammad Mostafaei, (below) who took his client’s case pro bono and whom Ashtiani claims has prevented the stoning thus far, was either exiled or fled to Istanbul Turkey where he was briefly detained but is now said to have arrived in Oslo, Norway.
Iran had issued an arrest warrant for the lawyer, although it remains unclear as to what he was being charged with.
It is also being reported that his wife, Feresheteh Halimi, has been imprisoned in Tehran’s “notorious Evin prison,” and is being held without charges being filed at this point.
Whether or not Iran ultimately stones her, the woman claims she has been harshly mistreated during her incarceration in what is thought to be an extremely brutal Tabriz penal complex.
Referring to the constant jeers of prison guards she said, “Their words, the way they see me – an adulterous woman who should be stoned to death – is just like being stoned to death every day.”
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