Western propaganda won't prevent adulterous woman's stoning: Iran justice official

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Toronto (Canada), July 12 (ANI): An Iranian justice official has said that Western 'propaganda' will not prevent the law enforcement authorities of his country from going ahead with the execution by stoning of a woman, who has been charged with adultery.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 45-year-old mother of two, is facing the punishment by stoning to death, and Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the judiciary chief of Iran's East Azerbaijan province says that he is just waiting for the final judicial approval to go ahead with the execution.

The Globe and Mail quoted Sharifi, as saying that the crimes committed by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani were so heinous that "if she had only cut [off] the head of her husband, it would have been better than what she has done."

He told the Iranian New Agency in Tabriz, the provincial capital, that "the verdict has been halted due to humanitarian reservations and upon the order of the honourable judiciary chief and it will not be carried out for the moment."

"Whenever the judiciary chief [Sadeq Larijani] deems it expedient, the verdict will be carried out regardless of Western media propaganda," he added.

Government officials, celebrities and ordinary citizens from around the world have joined international human-rights organizations in a growing campaign against the stoning sentence given to Ashtiani.

She was first convicted on May 15, 2006, of having an "illicit relationship" with two men, for which she received 99 lashes.

At a subsequent trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, Ashtiani was charged with "adultery while being married."

It is for that crime that she has been sentenced to death by stoning.

At the weekend, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, criticized the international campaign to spare Ashtiani, while pointing out that stoning is rarely used.

"The commotion that the Western media has started in connection with this case will not affect our judges' views," he said, noting that the West is fixated on the form of capital punishment, not on the crimes.

"The execution of Islamic religious laws on [such things as] death by stoning, hijab and inheritance, has always faced their audacious animosity and, basically, any issue which hints of religious law is always opposed by them," he said. (ANI)

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