The execution of Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman who was convicted of adultery and originally sentenced to stoning, has been temporarily halted, according to CNN .
Malek Ajdar Sharifi, a judiciary official in East Azerbaijan province, said the verdict has been halted on “humanitarian grounds,” although it “still stands and is definite,” reported CNN. Malek Ajdar Sharifi, a judiciary official in East Azerbaijan, insisted the halt was only temporary and should not be seen as the state succumbing to the condemnation by the Western nations. Sharifi said, “whenever the minister (Sadeq Larijani) orders the verdict again … it will take place despite the Western media propaganda.” Sharifi stressed how horrible Ashtiani’s crimes were and went so far as to say that it would’ve been better “if she had only cut the head of her husband,” according to Alternative Free Press. Sharifi did not provide details, “because of morality and ethics…but if the public knew, they would understand the criminal nature of them.”
Ashtiani’s case began in 2006 when was convicted of having extramarital relations with two men, who subsequently killed her husband according to Huliq. While she initially received 99 lashes for adultery, during an appeal of her case, the court sentenced her to death by stoning. Women executed by stoning are buried up to their necks (men are buried up to the waist) and a crowd throws stones at their heads, which slowly leads to death. The international community has condemned the practice, decrying it as “barbaric” and “tantamount to torture.”
The Iranian embassy in London released a statement last week which said “according to information from the relevant judicial authorities in Iran, she will not be executed by stoning punishment.” The statement also declared claims of stoning “false news” and implied that her sentence would be commuted, most likely by hanging.
Though it is clear that Ashtiani will no longer be stoned, her execution still appears to be imminent. Her sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007. Her two children Sajad and Farideh, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty, Mina Ahadi and Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, continue to campaign until she is completely released and the execution order is repealed.