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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid