AFP: Canada’s First Lady Maureen Harper said Friday she was “deeply saddened” that an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has not been released as reported earlier.
OTTAWA, December 10, 2010 (AFP) – Canada’s First Lady Maureen Harper said Friday she was “deeply saddened” that an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has not been released as reported earlier.
The wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper had joined campaigners in celebrating Thursday after a German-based group said Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been freed and photographs from Iran’s Press TV were circulated showing her at home with her detained son.
But the television station later denied reports she had been released, saying the stills were part of an interview to be aired on Friday, making it clear she remained in custody and mocking Western talk of a release.
“I was deeply saddened to learn that Iran is continuing its gross abuse of Ms Ashtiani’s rights,” Laureen Harper said in a statement.
“Iranian officials have confirmed that Ms Ashtiani… has not been released from jail as some reports had indicated… Iran’s treatment of Ms Ashtiani remains an affront to women around the world.”
English-language Press TV said Mohammadi Ashtiani, suspected of killing her husband, had been taken home to film a reconstruction of the murder and had described the crime in detail.
Mohammadi Ashtiani was initially given death sentences by two different courts in the northwestern city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.
But a second sentence, to death by stoning on charges of adultery leveled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband’s murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.