JUST IN: Iran did it again. Provoking outrage around the world, its state-run TV station announced today that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has not been freed, despite footage made available yesterday, depicting her and son at home. The station said it was all part of a program to be broadcast tonight, that all but endorses the official version portraying her as a murderer. The announcement:
“Contrary to a vast publicity campaign by western media that confessed murderer Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been released, a team of broadcast production team with the Iran-based Press TV has arranged with Iran’s judicial authorities to follow Ashtiani to her house to produce a visual recount of the crime at the murder scene.”
In other words, the international vigil and watch for Sakineh’s life will continue.
The Iranian state-run TV station showed footage last night of Sakineh Muhammad Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning, apparently free at home with her son Sajad.
Sakineh appears on the undated footage saying that she “planned to kill” her husband, Iran’s main accusation against her.
So far, the state prosecution hasn’t offered any details under which she was released or whether her sentence was commuted or she was pardoned for good.
Human rights activists expressed joy for her freedom but could not offer independent confirmation of her current and future legal status. Her release comes after an intense international campaign against the lack of transparency of her criminal process and death sentencing.
Sakineh was twice condemned to die by separate courts over the murder of her husband. A sentence of hanging was commuted to 10 years in jail by an appeal court in 2007.
But a second sentence, to death by stoning on charges of adultery in several relationships, including the man convicted of her husband’s murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.
The news of Ms Ashtiani’s possible reprieve came a day after another woman sentenced to death, Khadijeh Jahed, was hanged at dawn in jail with her son pushing the stool from beneath her feet.