Iranian woman's death sentence suspended, lawmaker says

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 10:30 hrs

Tehran, Jan 17 (DPA) An Iranian lawmaker said Monday that the death sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who is on death row for the murder of her husband, has been suspended.

In a letter from parliament's human rights committee head Zohreh Elahian to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, carried by ISNA news agency, she said that due to a plea by the family of the victim - Ashtiani's two children - the death sentence was suspended.

It was unclear why the announcement came from a parliamentary deputy and not the judiciary and why the letter was not written by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to his Brazilian counterpart.

Ashtiani, 43, was originally found guilty of adultery in 2006 and sentenced to death by stoning, in line with Islamic laws, by a court in the province of Azerbaijan in northwestern Iran.

After a storm of international protest, Iran tried to play down the stoning sentence by saying that the main charge against the woman was her role in helping her lover kill her husband.

According to the judiciary in Azerbaijan, her file was going through the revision process and a final verdict would be handed down after approval by the judiciary headquarters in Tehran.

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