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Iran urged to free jailed woman
Protesters around the world rally in support of jailed woman facing execution for adultery.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2010 18:38 GMT
Protest organisers hope international pressure will led Iran's government to free Mohammadi Ashtiani [AFP]

Rallies are being held in London and around the world to support Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death in Iran for adultery.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Paris, New York, Berlin, Ottawa and other cities on Saturday to show solidarity with the woman who has been incarcerated in Iran since 2005 and faces execution.

"We do want to save her life," Maryam Namazie, a protest organiser in London, told Al Jazeera.

Amnesty International, one of several groups publicising her case, said that Ashtiani, who has two children, was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men and received 99 lashes as punishment.

She was initially sentenced to death by stoning, but the execution was put on hold earlier this month after an international outcry. 

Malekadjar Sharifi, an Iranian official in Eastern Azerbaijan province, was quoted as saying the suspension was not influenced by the international condemnation drawn by the death sentence.

Potential hanging

Although she will not be stoned, rights groups worry that Ashtiani could still be hanged.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, enforced since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

At least 10 other people, including seven women, are under sentence of stoning in the Iranian jails, Amnesty said.

Protest organisers hope continued international pressure will force the Iranian government to free Ashtiani.

"We are hoping this will be a stepping tone to ending stoning and executions in Iran once and for all," Namazie said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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