An urgent petition has been launched to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, after reports yesterday that she was to be hanged for murder imminently.
The 43-year-old mother of two’s sentence was suspended in July in the face of an international outcry. But the International Committee against Stoning said on its website that Mohammadi Ashtiani “is to be executed this Wednesday 3 November”.
A spokeswoman for the German-based organisation said this morning that it now understood Ashtiani would not be executed today, but said Iran was still planning to go ahead with the execution, which could take place in the next few days.
“The International Committees against Stoning and Execution call on international bodies and the people of the world to come out in full force against the state-sponsored murder of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani,” she said.
The global civic advocacy network Avaaz.org responded to the reports by launching an online petition urging people “to send an emergency message directly to the leaders of Turkey, Brazil and key UN nations who could sway Iran to halt the execution”. The petition has already attracted more than 275,000 names and has seen “Ashtiani” become one of the most widely discussed subjects on Twitter.
An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery has not yet been executed, says French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
A rights group had said Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could face the death penalty as early as Wednesday.
Mr Kouchner said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told him no verdict in her case had been reached.
The AFP news agency quoted an Iranian judiciary official as saying Ms Ashtiani was in “perfect health”.
Ms Ashtiani was originally convicted of adultery several years ago and sentenced to death by stoning.
Her case rose to international prominence and in July reports emerged that she had been sentenced to death for the murder of her husband.
In September, Iran said her stoning sentence had been suspended but she could still be hanged for murder.