Iranian 'death by stoning' woman's son, lawyer say torture denial on TV also under duress

Written by: Samyuktha
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London, Sept 16 (ANI): The son and lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, have condemned her appearance on Islamic republic's state TV channel last night to say she has not been whipped or tortured, saying they believe it to be a 'forced' interview, aimed at preparing public opinion inside Iran for her execution.

"I have not been tortured, at all. All these words are my own words. Nobody has forced me to appear before camera and whatever I say is my own words," The Guardian quoted a blurry image of a woman identified as Ashtiani in brief video footage, as saying.

Reports that she had been lashed for the photograph were 'false and rumours', she said speaking in her native Azeri language with the words being subtitled in Farsi.

Mohammadi Ashtiani's government-appointed lawyer Houtan Kian had earlier said that she had been tortured for two days before accepting to give the interview to a TV channel last month, where she 'confessed' to involvement in the murder of her husband.

"Actually it has been a huge relief for me to see my mother on TV again after a month of complete cut off, because at least I found that she is still alive. For a month, I have not been given permission to meet her while the government claimed that she has not been denied visits," the paper quoted her son Sajad, as saying.

Her lawyer Kian, whose house in Tabriz has been ransacked and had documents confiscated after he spoke out in her defence said: "To me, this interview has been given forcibly again. She has been denied her very principle right of visiting her lawyer for more than a month and I, as her lawyer, have been harassed and threatened."

Vahid Kazemzadeh, a member of the country's Islamic Human Rights Commission, who had met Ashtiani earlier this month said that she was 'surprised' by reports that she was lashed 99 times in a separate punishment. (ANI)

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