Sunday, September 5, 2010
PARIS – Daily News with wires
Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, has also been sentenced to 99 lashes for a photo published of her without a headscarf, according to her son, Agence France-Presse reported.
In an interview published on the website of the French magazine La Regle du Jeu and the blog Dentelles et Tchador, the woman's son, Sajjad Mohammadi-Ashtiani, said they learned of the new punishment from released inmates.
A prison judge confirmed that she was to be lashed for spreading "corruption and indecency" by the publication of a photograph of her without a headscarf that appeared in a British newspaper, he said.
The Times of London published on Aug. 28 a photo of a woman without a headscarf it said was Mohammadi-Ashtiani; on Sept. 3, however, it said the attribution of the photo, which it received from one of her lawyers that has fled Iran, was incorrect.
The photo "is certainly not that of my mother," said Sajjad Mohammadi-Ashtiani.
Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was given the death penalty for an extramarital relationship. Iran has subsequently said she was also convicted of being an accomplice in her husband's death although she has denied the charge.
Her plight has prompted protests in Europe and an international campaign to spare her, causing Tehran to provisionally suspend the death sentence.
After an international outcry, Iranian officials temporarily halted the woman's stoning sentence in July, BBC News website reported on Sunday. Nonetheless, there are fears the death sentence could be carried out by hanging.
In May 2006, a criminal court in East Azerbaijan province found Ashtiani guilty of having had an "illicit relationship" with two men following the death of her husband. She was given 99 lashes.
In September 2006, however, during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, another court reopened an adultery case based on events that allegedly took place before her husband died.
Despite retracting a confession she said she had been forced to make under duress, Ashtiani was convicted of "adultery while being married" and sentenced to death by stoning.
The Vatican, meanwhile, said Sunday it was in touch with Tehran "through diplomatic channels" over the controversy surrounding Ashtiani sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The statement reiterated the Catholic Church's opposition to the death penalty.
"The Holy See is following this affair with attention and commitment," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement issued in answer to journalists' questions on the matter.