Women's Rights & Movements in IranIran rejects Brazil asylum for woman facing stoning

Iran rejects Brazil asylum for woman facing stoning

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Reuters: Iran on Tuesday rejected an offer by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to give asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran on Tuesday rejected an offer by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to give asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The sentence imposed on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for an extra-marital relationship, which she denies, has angered human rights groups and caused an international outcry.

Tehran has suspended the sentence, pending a review by the country’s judiciary but it could still be carried out.

Lula called on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month to allow Brazil to give refuge to Mohammadi Ashtiani.

“From what we know about Mr. da Silva, he has a humane and sensitive character and probably he has not been provided with enough information,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

“We can give details of this person’s crimes, who has been convicted, and then I think the issue will be clarified for him,” Mehmanparast said.

Iran and Brazil have drawn closer this year after Brazil and Turkey brokered a proposed compromise deal on Iran’s uranium enrichment work, which the West fears is a cover for developing a nuclear bomb. Tehran rejects the accusation, saying it only wants to generate electricity.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran’s sharia law, enforced since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Human rights group Amnesty International has said Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men and received 99 lashes as her sentence.

The rights group said that, despite this, she was subsequently convicted of “adultery while being married,” which it said she denied, and was sentenced to death by stoning.

Amnesty has listed Iran as the world’s second most prolific executioner in 2008 after China, and says it put to death at least 346 people in 2008.

The Iranian authorities routinely dismiss charges of rights abuses, saying they are following Islamic sharia.

(Editing by Jon Hemming)

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