Rights groups slam Iranian TV over 'death by stoning' woman's fake confession at home

Tehran, Dec 11 (ANI): Human rights campaigners have reportedly condemned an Iranian television channel for airing a programme projecting Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death by stoning, as apparently discussing her role in the murder of her husband.

"International standards for fair trial, to which Iran is a state party, guarantee the right not to be forced to incriminate oneself or to confess guilt. The judiciary is in charge of this case and would have to have given permission for such an interview to take place," the Guardian quoted Clare Bracey of Amnesty International, as saying.

"To organise a televised 'confession' midway through a judicial review of a serious case, where a woman's life hangs in the balance, makes a mockery of Iran's legal system," she added.

The programme also aired her son, in which he apparently played the role of his father in a reconstruction.

Earlier Iran's state news agency, IRNA, had confirmed that although it was speculated that Ashtiani had been released, she still remains in prison.

"Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is in prison and the reports about her release are false," it added.

The agency also said that the whole episode was arranged with Iran's judicial authorities so that she could confess before the audience that she was a culprit.

"There are always two sides to a story and sometimes more," said the voice of a narrator who described Ashtiani as a "prostitute" and "adulterous woman," the paper said.

While making her confession, Ashtiani was filmed saying that one of her husband's relatives, Isa Saharkhiz, had asked her to render her husband unconscious before he could electrocute him. "We planned to kill my husband," she said, before showing in a reconstruction how she made him unconscious with an injection, it added.

The channel had also broadcast an interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani, an adviser to the Iranian supreme leader, in which he claimed that there was a "good chance" that she could still be spared.

Ashtiani was convicted in May 2006 of engaging in an illicit relationship outside marriage. She was given a sentence of 99 lashes, but her case was reopened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted, but the adultery charge was reviewed and a death penalty handed down to her. (ANI)

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