‘Iranian woman’s ’stoning to death’ sentence could still be quashed’

January 3rd, 2011 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Tehran, Jan 3 (ANI): A senior judicial official has said that Iranian woman Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s sentence of ’stoning to death’ could be avoided, but certain “ambiguities” still remain in her case.

On being asked whether Ashtiani’s sentence for adultery could be overturned, the head of East Azerbaijan’s judiciary, Malek Ajdar Sharifi, said: “anything is possible.”

News.com.au quoted Sharifi as saying that certain “ambiguities” still remained in the “evidence” gathered in Ashtiani’s case, and this was causing the delay in taking a final decision over the verdict.

He further said that it was easy to issue a verdict in a case where the murderer clearly confesses to his crime, adding: “But in this case, where the defendant (Mohammadi Ashtiani) denies or makes justifications and there are ambiguities in the evidence, the procedure gets prolonged.”

His comments have come after Ashtiani was taken out on prison leave on Saturday to have dinner with her daughter and son, hours after he had appealed to the judiciary to spare her life. She had then reportedly asked her son to sue the two Germans for the interview attempts.

She also claimed that the reason for her planned lawsuit against those two foreigners was that they duped her son into accepting the interview, leading to his arrest, the report added.

After having dinner with her children on Saturday, Ashtiani had said that she was not tortured while in prison, adding that: “these are all rumors”.

Ashtiani, a mother of two, was originally convicted in May 2006 after being found guilty of having had an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband and reportedly received 99 lashes in front of her son.

Later that year, as a result of information that surfaced during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, her adultery case was re-opened. Despite retracting a confession she said she had made under duress in August, Ashtiani was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

The Iranian government also claims that she had a hand in the murder of her husband. (ANI)

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