Iranian ‘sinner’ Ashtiani in third TV confession
Woman sentenced to death admits guilt; two German journalists charged with spying
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, has appeared on state television for the third time to confess her guilt. It came just a fortnight after rumours spread that she was about to be hanged.
With her face blurred and a voiceover translating her native Azeri into Farsi, she admits to adultery, saying: "I am a sinner".
Ashtiani's case is supposed to be under review by the Iranian judiciary. In recent months they have attempted to move the focus from adultery - of which she was convicted - to complicity in the murder of her husband - of which she was acquitted - in an apparent attempt to justify a new, more acceptable sentence of death by hanging.
It is the third time Ashtiani has appeared on TV to 'confess' since her ordeal began in 2005 when her husband was murdered. The first time, in August, her lawyer said she had been tortured for two days before she finally agreed to go in front of the camera.
Yesterday's broadcast also included appearances by two men whose faces were again blurred. Identified as Ashtiani's son, Sajjad, and lawyer, Houtan Kian, they admitted lying to the Western media about the stoning case.
Sajjad and Houtan Kian were arrested in October along with two German journalists while attempting to record an interview about Ashtiani's case. The two Germans were also shown on the programme - the only subjects to appear with their faces visible.
They accused Mina Ahadi, the figurehead of the German-based International Committee Against Stoning, of sending them to Iran to interview Ashtiani's son. One of them says to camera, via a Farsi
voiceover: "I will sue her when I get back home to Germany."
Reuters has reported that the two Germans, who are said to have entered Iran on tourist visas, have been charged with spying. Malekajdar Sharifi, the chief judge in Eastern Azerbaijan province, said: "The espionage charge for the two German citizens who came to Iran to stage propaganda and spying has been approved." ·
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