AFP: The lawyer of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery is in Turkey and has requested asylum, the UN refugee agency said Wednesday.
ANKARA (AFP) — The lawyer of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery is in Turkey and has requested asylum, the UN refugee agency said Wednesday.
The lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, had been missing since July 24 when Iranian police went to his office to execute an arrest warrant and failed to find him.
“He is in custody in Turkey. We have met him and he has lodged an asylum request with Turkey,” Metin Corabatir, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey, told AFP.
“The request will now be evaluated in cooperation with Turkish authorities,” he added.
The liberal Turkish daily Radikal reported Wednesday that Mostafaie had been detained due to a problem with his passport as he was entering Turkey. It gave no indication of when, where and how the lawyer had been detained.
Mostafaie, a well-known human rights activist, has been representing Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.
Corabatir said the UNHCR would determine whether to grant refugee status to Mostafaie, who would register with Turkish authorities for temporary residence.
“Then we can start to look for third countries that will accept him…That is unfortunately a lengthy process, but there are expedited tracks for vulnerable, high-risk people” such as Mostafaie, he added.
Iran temporarily halted last month the stoning of Mohammadi-Ashtiani amid international condemnation of the sentence.
She was convicted on May 15, 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men, according to London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Amnesty said she received 99 lashes as per her sentence but was subsequently accused of “adultery while being married” in September 2006 during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband.
Last week Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula offered to give asylum to the woman, which Tehran termed as an “emotional” act without proper knowledge of the case.