Iran says `stoning woman` in perfect health, attacks West

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is "currently in perfect health" in Tabriz jail.

Tehran: Iran said that a woman sentenced to death by stoning is in perfect health and that her case is still being reviewed, amid fears her execution was imminent.

Tehran also accused the West of "shamelessly" trying to pressure it over the case by turning it into a human rights issue.

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is "currently in perfect health and is in Tabriz prison. Her case is being reviewed in the court of this province," said Malek Ajdar Sharifi, head of East Azarbaijan province`s justice department yesterday.

That was confirmed by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Motakki, on a trip to Georgia, who said "the final verdict is not yet made. This case will be pursued in the framework of the law”.

Exiled Iranian human rights activist Mina Ahadi had triggered a new outcry in the West after voicing fears that Mohammadi-Ashtiani could be executed as early as Wednesday.

However, speaking from her base in Germany, she acknowledged that the death sentence against mother-of-two had not been carried out.

"Execution time has now passed, so it won`t happen today. But the danger remains and it could still happen at any time," Ahadi, of the International Committee Against Stoning, said.

She said "some countries have been in contact with Iranian government representatives. It is clear that all this attention played a role," she added.

"But the execution has been delayed, not cancelled."

She said that, according to sources in Iran, Mohammadi-Ashtiani`s name was on a list drawn up by Iran`s Supreme Court of people to be executed in the coming days or weeks.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast lashed out at Western nations, saying "they have become so shameless that they have turned the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has committed crime and treason, into a human rights case against our nation."

"It has become a symbol of women`s freedom in Western nations and with impudence they want to free her. Thus, they are trying to use this ordinary case as a pressure lever against our nation," the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

He accused Western media of "poisoning the atmosphere against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

France too said it was informed by Iran that a final decision on Mohammadi-Ashtiani`s execution was still pending.


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