Global support pours in for Iranian ‘stoning to death verdict’ woman

     Human rights activists and supporters of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman whose sentence of death by stoning on ‘adultery charges’ was lifted earlier this month and changed to hanging, have asked for global support to reunite her with her children on her appeal. "Put Sakineh's picture beside Neda Agha-Soltan's and don't let Iran repeat what it did with Neda again with Sakineh," The Guardian quoted Mina Ahadi, an Iranian human rights activist, as saying. Agha-Soltan was shot to death in the aftermath of Iran 's disputed election in June 2009 and became a symbol of Iran 's post-election rebellion. The paper quoted Ahadi, of the Iran Committee against Stoning (ICAS), as saying that when Ashtiani was informed inside Tabriz prison about the global support she has got, she thanked the world for launching a campaign for her release and urged them for further support so that she might be reunited with her children. "Part of my heart is frozen, every night before I go to sleep, I think who would throw stones at me?" Ahadi quoted Ashtiani, as saying. Meanwhile, ICAS has presented documents showing that two of five judges who investigated Ashtiani's case concluded that there was no forensic evidence of adultery. "It's shocking, she's sentenced to death by stoning because three judges think, just think, that you had an illicit relationship outside marriage," said Maryam Namazie of the ICAS. Ashtiani had been convicted of adultery, and was originally sentenced to 99 lashes, but her case was reopened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. Although she was acquitted, the adultery charge was reviewed and the death by stoning sentence handed down to her.

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