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Iran to hang or stone to death woman convicted of adultery

December 26, 2011 - Tehran

A local Iranian judiciary official has said that a woman sentenced to death on charges of adultery will be executed either by stoning or hanging.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning, but that sentence was later suspended following an international outcry over the case.

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of justice department of East Azerbaijan province where Ashtiani is in prison, said that judicial authorities are still discussing whether to execute Ashtiani by stoning or by hanging.

Ashtiani, 43, 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.

She was later convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, CBS News reports.

Various celebrities including American actors Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, and popular singer Sting have called on Iran to release Ashtiani.

In an open letter published late last year, over 80 actors, artists, musicians, academics and politicians said that "Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has suffered enough."

Signatories include actor Colin Firth, artist Damien Hirst, Nobel literature laureates Wole Soyinka and V.S. Naipaul, British opposition leader Ed Miliband and former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner.

They called on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release Ashtiani along with her son and lawyer, who are also imprisoned.


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