[UPDATED] Iranian woman scheduled to be stoned to death will be hanged instead

The International Committee Against Stoning said that  the authorities had given the go-ahead for the execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Her fate has provoked international outcry after she was sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.

In Iran, the only ‘evidence’ needed to sentence a woman to death is an accusation by one man.

UK DAILY MAIL Under huge pressure, Tehran eventually ruled that the 43-year-old mother-of-two would be hanged instead. Ashtiani has been on death row ever since.

‘The authorities in Tehran have given the go-ahead to Tabriz prison for the execution of Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani,’ the human rights group said on its website. ‘It has been reported that she is to be executed this Wednesday, 3 November.’

Officials in Iran were not available to confirm or deny the report. Ashtiani’s stoning sentence was suspended after prominent political and religious figures called it ‘medieval’, ‘barbaric’ and ‘brutal’. Brazil, a close ally of Iran’s, offered to give Ashtiani asylum.

A government spokesman said in September Ashtiani’s adultery conviction was under review but a second charge of being complicit in the murder of her husband was still pending.

Under the Islamic law in force in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, murder is punishable by hanging, adultery by stoning.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fended off questions about the case from reporters when he attended the UN General Assembly in September, saying it had been fabricated by hostile Western media and called the United States hypocritical for its record on executions.

The case has worsened relations between Iran and the West, which are locked in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme, and was further complicated last month when two Germans were arrested in Iran while conducting an interview with Ashtiani’s son.

France says Iranian woman will NOT be hanged today. (But who knows?)

Iran Focus An Iranian woman accused of adultery will not be executed on Wednesday, France’s foreign minister said, citing a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart.

German-based human rights group the International Committee against Stoning said on Tuesday Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani would be hanged on Wednesday instead of stoned, although Iranian authorities have declined to comment on the issue.

Ashtiani’s stoning sentence was suspended earlier this year after prominent political and religious figures called it medieval, barbaric and brutal. Brazil, a close ally of Iran, offered to give the 43-year-old mother of two asylum.

“Manouchehr Mottaki assured me that Iranian legal authorities had not yet reached a verdict in the affair relating to (Ashtiani) and that the information regarding her alleged execution did not correspond to reality,” Bernard Kouchner said in a statement.

He added he had spoken to Mottaki on Wednesday morning asking him to renounce the execution and grant her a pardon.

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