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Iranian woman could be stoned soon: Lawyer

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 10:23

Tehran: The lawyer for an Iranian woman
sentenced to be stoned on an adultery conviction said that he and her children are worried the delayed execution could be carried out soon with the end of a moratorium on death
sentences for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

In an unusual turn in the case, the lawyer also confirmed
that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was lashed 99 times last week
in a separate punishment meted out because a British newspaper
ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as
her. Under Iran`s clerical rule, women must cover their hair
in public.

With the end of Ramadan this week, the mother of two
could be executed "any moment," said her lawyer, Javid Houtan
Kian.

The sentence was put on hold in July after an
international outcry over the brutality of the punishment, and
it is now being reviewed by Iran`s supreme court.

Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit
relationship" with two men after the murder of her husband the
year before and was sentenced at that time to 99 lashes. Later
that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress.

"The possibility of stoning still exists, any moment,"
Kian told The Associated Press. "Her stoning sentence was only
delayed; it has not been lifted yet."

Italy is among several countries pressing for Iran to
show flexibility in the case. The country`s foreign minister,
Franco Frattini, said the Italian ambassador in Iran met with
authorities in Tehran who "confirmed to us that no decision
has been made" about the stoning sentence.

"I interpret that in the sense that the stoning, for now,
won`t take place," Frattini said in an interview on Italian
state TV.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 10:23

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