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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid