Woman facing stoning death confesses on TV

Ashtiani, convicted of adultery, talks of relationship with husbands kin

 In the interview, aired on on Wednesday night, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani also criticised her lawyer for publicising her case, saying it had brought shame on her family.
A human rights campaign group, the International Committee Against Stoning, called the TV show “toxic propaganda”. Ashtiani had previously denied the adultery accusations against her.

International media attention given to the case has highlighted Iran’s high number of executions and may have spared Ashtiani from being stoned to death, according to her lawyer, who has fled to Europe.

Ashtiani described how she had struck up a relationship with her husband’s cousin.
“He told me: ‘Let us kill your husband’. I totally could not believe that my husband would be killed. I thought he was joking,” said Ashtiani. “Later, I found out that killing was his profession. He came (to our house) and brought all the stuff. He brought electrical devices, plus wire and gloves. Later, he killed my husband by connecting him to the electricity,” she said.

The head of the judiciary of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province told the television show that Ashtiani had injected an anaesthetic into her husband. “After the husband went unconscious, the real murderer killed the victim by connecting electricity to his neck,” he said. It was not clear whether the cousin had been arrested.

Ashtiani, a mother of two, has received 99 lashes for having an illicit relationship with two men. The stoning sentence has been suspended pending a judicial review but could still be carried out, an Iranian judiciary official has said.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran’s sharia law, enforced since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, said Ashtiani, who was convicted of “adultery”, was probably pressured into making her statements.

“Her life is in the hands of the people who have power in Iran, and whatever they want, they can achieve. It is a normal thing for Iranian TV to say lies,” he said in Norway. He said authorities might either now release Ashtiani in a show of magnanimity or “misuse her statements to justify her execution.”

Mostafaei said earlier that Iranian authorities had issued a warrant for Mostafaei’s arrest and held his wife in jail for two weeks in an attempt to get him to return to Iran.

In the TV interview, Ashtiani said she would lodge a complaint against Mostafaei.
“Why did you publicise my case? Why did you harm my reputation and dignity? Not all of my relatives and family members knew that I am prison. Why did you do this to me?”

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