The stoning execution of an Iranian woman charged with adultery has not yet gone ahead and “no final decision” has been made, said Iran’s foreign minister.
A human rights group campaigning to free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was condemned to be stoned to death, had previously said that “authorities in Tehran have given the go-ahead to Tabriz prison” to execute her, possibly on Wednesday.
However, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that Iran’s foereion minieter, Manouchehr Mottaki, had assured him a final verdict in Ashtiani’s case has not yet ben reached and reports about her eventual execution are untrue, reported Sky News.
Allegedly, Iran has temporarily suspended the stoning verdict and suggested Ms Ashtiani might be hanged instead.
According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, a local judiciary official has claimed that Ashtiani is in good health in prison.
A number of countries, including France, the US, the UK and Canada, have condemned her possible execution and there has been a public outcry.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “I think this is a barbaric punishment, I think it will damage Iran in the eyes of the world.”
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, was deeply concerned “by the reports and demands that Iran halt the execution and convert her sentence,” her office said in a statement.
Ashtiani, a mother of two, was originally convicted in May 2006 after being found guilty of having had an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband and reportedly received 99 lashes in front of her son.
The adultery case was reopened when Ashtiani was charged with being implicit in her husband’s death.
An interview on Iranian TV showed a woman, who was allegedly Ashtiani, admitting to a relationship with a man who then killed her husband.
However, the International Committee Against Stoning called the TV show “toxic propaganda”.
Get more info on Ashtiani’s case here: amnesty.org.uk/search.asp?q=Ashtiani+&submitted=-1