Son of Iranian woman sentenced to death pleads to Lula

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2010, 10:15 AM IST

Brasilia: The son of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, pleaded on Thursday for Brazil to keep up its campaign to try to save his mother`s life.

"Please, don`t abandon us, don`t leave us alone in this struggle. Your voice has more weight for the President (Iran`s Mahmoud Ahmadinehad) than ours," Sajjad Ghaderzade said in an interview with the newspaper O Globo.

His appeal was directed at Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has already tried in vain to convince Iran to let Mohammadi-Ashtiani take up asylum in Brazil instead of being executed.

Ghaderzade, 21, said Lula`s efforts had had "a very positive effect" in raising the profile of his mother`s predicament.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a mother of two, was given the death penalty for an extramarital relationship.

Iran has subsequently said she was also convicted of being an accomplice in her husband`s death, though she has denied that was the case.

Her plight has prompted protests in Europe and an international campaign to spare her.

Lawyer reunited

The lawyer who defended Mohammadi-Ashtiani was reunited with his family in Norway yesterday.

Mohammad Mostafaei said he was pleased his wife and seven-year-old daughter were allowed to travel to Norway on tourist visas.

In August, the 31-year-old lawyer fled to Turkey and then to Norway after learning Iranian officials intended to arrest him. He has said he is seeking asylum in Norway, but still hopes officials in Iran will allow him to return to his practice.

Mostafaei`s wife, Fereshteh, said that she was "really happy" to join her husband in Norway. However, she was "very worried about the future" and unsure how long the family will stay in Norway.

"We have no plan right now," she said. Mostafaei hugged his wife and held his daughter, Parmida, as he spoke to reporters at Oslo`s Gardermoen international airport.

Mostafaei maintained a blog that sparked a worldwide campaign to free his former client, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was convicted of adultery. In July, Iranian authorities said they would not carry out the stoning sentence for the time being, but the mother of two could still face execution by hanging for adultery and other offences.

Mostafaei predicted last month that the Iranian government would grant Mohammadi Ashtiani clemency because of the international reaction to her case.

PTI