Monday, September 6, 2010

Iranian Woman Said to Be Lashed Over Photo

New York Times
September 5, 2010

A mix-up over a photograph led to a sentence of 99 lashes for the Iranian woman whose earlier death sentence by stoning from Iranian authorities caused an international outcry, a lawyer for the woman said Sunday.

The lashing of the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, was carried out in the northern Iran prison where she is being held, according to the lawyer, Javid Kian. But another lawyer for Ms. Ashtiani disputed that account.

In a telephone interview from Iran, Mr. Kian said that he had not had contact with Ms. Ashtiani since Aug. 11, when she gave what he called a false and coerced videotaped statement that she was involved in the murder of her husband. The statement was broadcast on Iranian state television in an apparent effort to deflect criticism from around the world of the Iranian government’s sentence that Ms. Ashtiani be executed by stoning for a 2006 adultery conviction. The authorities lifted the stoning sentence, but there have been signs that Ms. Ashtiani, who is being held in Tabriz prison in northern Iran, would be hanged instead.

The latest episode began on Aug. 28, when The Times of London published a photograph on its front page of a dark-haired woman wearing earrings and what appeared to be pink lipstick, which can be seen because the woman is not wearing the chador, or traditional Islamic veil. The headline with the photograph said, “Revealed: true face of the woman Iran wants to stone.” Inside, an editorial urged continued pressure on Tehran not to execute Ms. Ashtiani.