Brazil makes formal offer of asylum to convicted Iranian woman

August 11th, 2010 - 7:56 am ICT by IANS  

Brasilia, Aug 11 (DPA) The Brazilian government has made an official offer of asylum to an Iranian woman - Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani - who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and killing her husband.
Brazilian foreign ministry sources said Tuesday in Brasilia that the offer, which Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made unofficially a few days ago, was formalised by Brazil’s ambassador in Tehran, Antonio Luis Espinola Salgado.

There has been no response from Iranian authorities so far, the sources said.

Lula has friendly ties with Tehran and has repeatedly spoken against sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme. His initial offer of asylum for Mohammadi-Ashtiani was rejected last week.

The Brazilian government has also acknowledged that Mohammadi-Ashtiani had committed a crime.

“Mr Lula is person who sets great value on humanitarian issues but in this case a crime has definitely been committed which the judiciary is following,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a press conference last week.

The US government also called on Iran to accept Brazil’s offer and described stoning in the 21st century as a barbaric act which should be outlawed.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani was convicted of adultery and murdering her husband and was sentenced to be stoned to death. The sentence provoked an international outcry with several Western countries and human rights organisations calling on Iran to revise it.

Iran’s judiciary said the 43-year-old woman was not only convicted of adultery but also of killing her husband in 2006. But it has delayed her sentence indefinitely.

Over the weekend, her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled to Norway, saying he had drawn the wrath of Iranian authorities for defending Mohammadi-Ashtiani, juvenile offenders and political prisoners.

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