Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Iran halts woman’s stoning, ‘for now’

Tehran: A top official of Iran’s judiciary has temporarily halted the execution by stoning of a woman accused of adultery, the state-run news agency, Irna, reported late on Sunday.

But Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of judiciary of the East Azerbaijan province, said the “crimes” committed by Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani were “heinous” and her execution would take place when the chief of the country’s judiciary deems fit.

“Although the verdict is definitive and applicable, it 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,” Ajdar Sharifi said.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, had been sentenced to death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery, a ruling that has sparked outcry in Western countries.

Ajdar Sharifi said the stay on the execution was temporary. “Whenever the judiciary chief [Sadeq Larijani] deems it expedient, the verdict will be carried out regardless of Western media propaganda,” he said.Mohammadi-Ashtiani was convicted on May 15, 2006, of having an “illicit relationship” with two men, according to her lawyer and the London-based humans rights watchdog, Amnesty International.

Amnesty said she received 99 lashes but was subsequently accused of “adultery while being married”, in September 2006, during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband.Ajdar Sharifi said Mohammadi-Ashtiani had committed several crimes. “She is not only accused of having illicit relations, but she has also committed a lot of heinous crimes,” he said. “If we give the details of the crimes she committed, the public will understand the depth of her inhuman and criminal nature. But due to humanitarian considerations we can’t give the details.”Explaining the details of Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s case, her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai, had said on Saturday that his client knew the man who “killed her husband and because she was at home when the murder took place, she was accused as an accomplice.”But though her children pardoned her in the case of murder, she now stands accused of adultery, Mostafai said. Under Iranian law if a murder victim’s family, in this case the children of Mohammadi-Ashtiani and her slain husband, forgive the accused, the convict can be pardoned. AFP

Iraq parliament session delayed over govt impasse

Baghdad: Iraq on Monday delayed a parliament session scheduled for this week as the political impasse over who will lead the country drags into its fifth month. The deadlock comes as frustration mounts over the inability of Iraqi lawmakers to reach an agreement on the country's leadership more than four months after national elections. “There are still differences in points of views, so it is impossible to enter the parliament hall,” said acting parliament speaker Fouad Massoum, warning that the next session could be delayed for weeks. “In principal, we postponed the parliament session for two weeks but it could be three,” Massoum told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Monday. “If political blocs don't agree on anything (by then), there will be a real crisis,” he added. Elections on March 7 did not give any party enough seats to form a majority in the 325-member parliament. For the past several months, the major coalitions have been engaged in intense negotiations to win enough allies to form a government. The alliance in early May of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition and another Shiite bloc backed by Iran seemed to indicate the process was picking up speed with their super-coalition only four seats shy of a governing majority. But even that alliance is showing cracks as many of the al-Maliki's putative allies are virulently opposed to the prime minister keeping his job. AFP


At least 10 Iranians sentenced to stoning are still thought to be on death row Iran has used the method to execute scores, perhaps hundreds, of alleged adulterers since Islamic revolution of 1979 At least 50 women were stoned to death between 1986-1997, according to the International Committee Against Stoning 12 other women have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran at present Iran executed 388 people last year — more than any other country in the world apart from China, according to Amnesty Intnl

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