Stoning of Iran woman could be quashed: Judiciary

Last Updated: Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 19:05

Tehran: The sentence of death by stoning
handed down by an Iranian court against a mother of two could
be quashed, a senior judiciary official said Sunday, adding
that some ambiguities remained in her case.

When asked whether the stoning
sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could be quashed,
Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of East Azerbaijan judiciary,
said that "anything is possible".

Sharifi`s remark came a day after Sajjad Ghaderzadeh,
the son of Mohammadi Ashtiani, pleaded for her execution by
stoning to be stayed.

Sharifi also said that certain "ambiguities" still
remained in the "evidence" gathered in Mohammadi Ashtiani`s
case, and this was causing the delay in taking a final
decision over the verdict.

The cleric said it is easy to issue a verdict in a
case where the murderer clearly confesses to his crime.

"But in this case where the defendant (Mohammadi
Ashtiani) denies or makes justifications and there are
ambiguities in the evidence, the procedure gets prolonged," he
said when asked why a final verdict in her case was still not
taken.

Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence for
adultery has triggered an outcry in the West, was tried and is
being held in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province
in northwest Iran.

Sharifi`s office yesterday arranged for Mohammadi
Ashtiani to appear in front of a group of reporters from
international news networks.

In her remarks to reporters, made in the presence of
judiciary officials, she said that she would sue two German
reporters and an anti-stoning activist from Germany for
"disgracing" her and Iran.

Mohammadi Ashtiani was sentenced to death by two
different courts in Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

Her sentence to hang for her involvement in the murder
of her husband was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an
appeals court in 2007.

But a second sentence to death by stoning on charges
of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with
the man convicted of her husband`s murder, was upheld by
another appeals court the same year.

Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was joined by her children
yesterday, when spoke to the media, did not make any plea for
clemency.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 19:05

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