|Iranian Death Row Prisoner Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani: AP|
The Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning sparked an international outcry is feared to be facing imminent execution, after she was put on a state-run TV programme last night where she confessed to adultery and involvement in a murder.
Speaking shakily in her native Azeri language, which could be heard through a voiceover, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani told an interviewer that she was an accomplice to the murder of her husband and that she had an extramarital relationship with her husband's cousin. Her lawyer told the Guardian last night that his client, a 43-year-old mother of two, was tortured for two days before the interview was recorded in Tabriz prison, where she has been held for the past four years.
"She was severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera. Her 22-year-old son, Sajad and her 17-year-old daughter Saeedeh are completely traumatised by watching this programme," said Houtan Kian.
He added that there were now fears that the Iranian authorities would act quickly to carry out the death sentence, which was reportedly commuted to hanging after an international outcry last month. The sentence was initially for "having an illicit relationship outside marriage" but some Iranian officials have claimed she was also found guilty of murdering her husband and should still face death by stoning.
(click here to read the full story on the UK Guardian website)