Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Amnesty International Urges Iran to Overturn Entire Death Sentence Against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, Not Just Stoning Sentence

Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:03 PM

New York : Amnesty International welcomes an Iranian official’s statement that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's stoning sentence has been temporarily suspended but urged the authorities to overturn the death sentence against her entirely. 

"This news does not go far enough," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

"We hope this is not merely a cynical move by the authorities to deflect international criticism, as this temporary suspension by the Head of the Judiciary could be lifted at any time, leaving Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani at risk of execution, particularly if the current judicial review of her case results in a confirmation of her sentence.  

“The Iranian authorities must immediately take the necessary steps to ensure that her death sentence is overturned once and for all."

On Wednesday, Iranian state-run Press TV reported that Ramin Mehmanparast, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, had said that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution for adultery had been "stopped."  

He reiterated that her case was being reviewed adding that "her sentencing for complicity in murder is in process."  

Amnesty International is also concerned that the Iranian authorities may be preparing to bring what appear to be fresh charges against her in relation for the death of her husband, Ebrahim Qaderzadeh,  although her state-appointed lawyer told the organization earlier that she had been acquitted of the murder.  

The organization has been unable to obtain any court documents relating to the investigation of his death.

"In August 2010, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was forced to confess under duress on TV to adultery and involvement in her husband's death," said Sahraoui.  "If the judicial authorities now charge and sentence her on this basis, yet another layer of injustice would be added to the travesty of her case." -----------000-------

Whether in a high-profile conflict or a forgotten corner of the globe, Amnesty International, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, campaigns for justice, freedom and dignity for all and seeks to mobilize public support to build a better world.

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