Canada's first lady hails release of Iranian facing stoning

10th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Canada's First Lady Maureen Harper on Thursday hailed the reported release of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, saying she had been freed "from her unjust imprisonment."

"I am heartened today to hear the news reports that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has apparently been freed from her unjust imprisonment," Harper said in a statement.

"While today's news is encouraging, there is more that must be done to improve the lives of women in Iran," she added. "It remains my hope that women in Iran may one day enjoy the same benefits, rights and freedoms that we are so fortunate to have here in Canada."

Earlier photographs were released of Sakineh, 43, while on home leave last week but without any official Iranian confirmation of a report that she had been freed.

In Germany, a campaign group said she had been released, along with her son and lawyer. "We have got news from Iran that they are free," Mina Ahadi, spokeswoman for the Anti-Stoning Committee, told AFP.

But there was no confirmation from the authorities in Tehran or the state media.

Sakineh was initially given death sentences by two different courts in the northwestern city of Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

A sentence to hang for her involvement in the murder of her husband was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

But a second sentence of death by stoning on charges of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.

© 2010 AFP

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