Iranian 'death by stoning' woman tortured to accept 'sin of adultery': HR activist

Tehran, Nov 16 (ANI): Mina Ahadi, an activist of the German-based International Committee Against Stoning (Icas), who has been accused on TV of spreading the case of the Iranian woman sentenced to 'death by stoning' worldwide for her own benefit, has again claimed that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her wellwishers have been "tortured" in prison to make such statements against her.

Earlier, the Iranian state television had broadcast a purported statement by Ashtiani, who was sentenced 'death by stoning' for adultery, calling herself a "sinner."

It also aired remarks allegedly made by two German journalists who were arrested while trying to interview Ashtiani's family in October, saying: "Mina Ahadi sent me to Iran because she knew she would benefit from my arrest and I'll sue her when I get back to Germany."

However, Ahadi blamed the Iranian authorities for not only attacking her and her committee, but also everybody who successfully brought Ashtiani's case to the world's attention and, at least for now, managed to stop Iran from stoning her.

"If it wasn't for the world's attention, Sakineh would have been executed by now, that is what's making them angry," the Guardian quoted Ahadi, as saying.

"I can't understand what they mean by 'the normal procedure?' Is stoning someone to death a normal procedure in their opinion? Sajjad knew he might be forced to confess on TV by defending his mother but nothing stopped him until he was arrested, I'm not surprised at all to hear these confessions from him and I can imagine how much all of these people were tortured to do so," she added.

During the interview Ashtiani reiterated her previous televised "confessions" that she was involved in the murder of her husband, saying, "I am a sinner." Her face was blurred and the interview, conducted in her native Azeri language, was subtitled in Farsi.

The report further broadcast purported statements by two men identified as Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Qaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, both of whom were arrested last month.

Her family and lawyer have said in the past that Ashtiani was tortured while in custody. However in the state TV report, Qaderzadeh said that he had lied about his mother being tortured, and blamed Kian, for the attention surrounding the case, the paper said.

In response to his remarks, Kian said in the programme: "Telling lies to foreign media was my recommendation to Sajjad."

Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the murder of her husband the year before and was sentenced at that time to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress. (ANI)

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