Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Iran Denies Stoning Verdict For Lover's Murderess

Iran's judiciary denied on Wednesday newspaper reports that a mother of two who strangled her lover had been sentenced to death by stoning, saying sentence had yet to be passed in the case. READ MORE

"No such verdict has been issued. The newspaper report is baseless," judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad told Reuters.

Iran has met scathing international criticism for continuing to issue stoning verdicts for adultery. The judiciary argues that no such sentences have been carried out in recent years.

Even if a stoning sentence was commuted, the 25-year-old woman, named only as Fatemeh, could still face hanging for murder. She would have a chance to appeal.

Newspapers said Fatemeh had been convicted of strangling her lover, 22-year-old Mahmoud Goudarzi, after he refused to end their affair.

"I put the rope around his neck from behind and yanked it tight until he fell to the ground," the official Iran newspaper quoted Fatemeh as telling the judge.

Fatemeh felt remorse over the affair with Goudarzi, a neighbor, and wanted to end it, newspapers reported, but he insisted she should divorce her husband and marry him instead.

"I gave my husband a belt and a knife to punish me but instead he forgave me for the sake of our twins," she said.

She strangled him while her husband, who was convicted of being an accomplice to the crime, wounded him with a knife. Her husband was given an unspecified prison sentence.

The United Nations has condemned Iran's record on public executions, floggings, arbitrary sentences, torture and discrimination against women.

Hanging is the most usual form of execution in Iran but some female adulterers have in the past been stoned to death.

The penalty involves victims being buried up to their midriffs and then pelted to death with medium-size stones that should not be big enough to kill instantly.