Iran Won’t Stone Woman, May Kill Her Anyway

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AP / Amnesty International

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

An Iranian woman convicted of adultery has won a reprieve from her death sentence — of sorts. (via AP)

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been sentenced to die by stoning, but the Iranian judiciary system has decided not to carry out the punishment “for the time being.” However, the death sentence itself has not been lifted and another capital punishment could still take place if the nation’s courts still wished to do so.

Ashtiani, 43, a mother of two, was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” after her husband’s death and sentenced to 99 lashes, but was then convicted of cheating on her husband when he was living and given the stoning sentence. Malek Ajdar Sharifi, a high-ranking judicial official in Northwestern Iran, where the sentence was handed out, said the woman’s punishment is not just for adultery, but for various and “very serious” crimes. Ashtiani has said her confession was made under duress.

Worldwide outcry came after news of the sentence became public with groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemning and urging the Iranian government not to go through with the stoning. Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, said the woman’s trial was unfair because she was never given access to legal counsel, had never confessed to adultery, and no witnesses were present.