News / Middle East

    Iranian Woman Condemned to Stoning Death Allegedly Confesses to Adultery

    Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who defended Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, speaks in Oslo, where he applied for political asylum, 8 Aug 2010
    Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who defended Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, speaks in Oslo, where he applied for political asylum, 8 Aug 2010

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman condemned to death by stoning, has allegedly confessed to adultery and involvement in the killing of her husband on Iranian television.  Many Iran analysts, however, are skeptical at the new twist.

    Ashtiani was first convicted in May 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the death of her husband and was sentenced to 99 lashes.  Later that year, she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she said was made under duress.  Ashtiani also has been convicted of involvement in the death of her husband, whom Iranian prosecutors say was murdered.

    Last month, Iran suspended the stoning sentence temporarily after international outrage over the brutality of the punishment.  But an Iranian TV broadcast Ashtiani's alleged confession late Wednesday, in which she admitted to a sexual affair.  She described in her native Azeri dialect, which was translated in Farsi, how she and her lover killed her husband.

    Ashtiani said she had an affair with a man who was her cousin and who made many promises to her before then killing her husband.  She added that he came to her home with everything needed for the murder, including electrical wire.  She noted that when she was in prison, she learned he had killed several other people.

    The woman in the interview had much of her face covered by a wide, black veil.  And Iranian television blurred most of her image, making it impossible to verify the woman's identity.

    Iran's Channel 2 broadcast the interview as part of a documentary it says was meant to "debunk Western media propaganda."  The program ridiculed Western TV networks for coming to the Ashtiani's defense.  Iranian TV also interviewed Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the judiciary chief of Azerbaijan province, who made the case for Ashtiani's guilt.

    Sharifi said that Ashtiani injected something into her husband to make him lose consciousness before her lover electrocuted him.  Sharifi argued that the act was premeditated because Ashtiani sent her children to her mother's house before the murder.

    The International Committee Against Stoning condemned the documentary, calling it propaganda.  Iran analysts said it follows a pattern of forced confessions.

    Ali Nourizadeh of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London notes that Ashtiani had insisted previously that Iranian authorities coerced her into confessing.

    "She's not in a position to be able to speak freely," said Nourizadeh.  "Therefore, whatever is dictated to her, she's going to repeat.  There is also a confession - a full confession - of adultery and participation in the killing of her husband taken from her in prison, when she was arrested.  But she later denied that this confession is true."

    Nourizadeh adds that Iranian TV tried to ridicule Ashtiani's attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei, who recently has sought refuge outside of Iran, after coming under pressure for his defense of civil rights cases in Iran.

    Political scientist Houchang Hassan-Yari, of the Royal Military College of Canada, says the most unbelievable part of the TV interview was that Ashtiani asked to be stoned after allegedly confessing her guilt.

    "She actually asked to be stoned by saying she had to be stoned because of what she did," said Hassan-Yari.  "Also, she had to attack her lawyer by saying that he's a traitor - he did not defend her case, but he was tarnishing the image of the Islamic Republic."

    Stoning was widely imposed in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.  Even though the country's judiciary regularly hands down such sentences, they often are commuted to other punishments.  The last known stoning in Iran was carried out in 2007, although the government rarely confirms that such punishments have been enforced.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.