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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid