This story is unbelievable and cryptic all at the same time.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, was spared death by stoning today as human rights activists from around the globe faught for her release. The mother of two is a widower who was accused of having “illicit relationships” with two men after her husband died and later charged with adultery while married. Strangely there are no witnesses to the alleged acts of adultery.
Back in 2006, when she was originally accused, Ashtiani was punished by 99 lashes on her back. Brought up again this year, for reasons not released by the government, she was set to be buried up to her chest and stoned to death.
According to The Guardian:
The Iranian embassy in London said in a statement that “according to information from the relevant judicial authorities” the stoning would not go ahead. If confirmed it would be an victory for a brief but intense campaign.
However, there are still concerns over her plight. In a previous case a prisoner who was to be stoned was instead executed by hanging.
Speaking to this paper Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son Sajad, said his mother – whom he had spoken to by telephone – believed the pressure on her behalf might succeed, although he had not heard of any reprieve. “The campaign for her release is going very well,” he said. “They gave me permission to talk to her and she was very thankful to the people of the world for supporting her. I’m very happy that so many have joined me in protesting this injustice. It was the first time in years I heard any hope in my mother’s voice.”
Without a reprieve, Mohammadi Ashtiani would have been buried up to her neck before being pelted with stones large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately. Iran routinely censors information about executions, but all the 12 other women on death row have been convicted on adultery charges, as has one of the three men.
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