German detainees in Iran say they were 'tricked'

16th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two Germans arrested in Iran last month while trying to interview the son of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery have told state television they were "tricked" into coming to Iran.

According to the Farsi voiceover of the footage aired on Monday night, the two detainees pointed fingers at Mina Ahadi, an Iranian human rights activist living in exile in Germany.

Ahadi, founder of the Germany-based International Committees against Execution and Stoning, has launched a global campaign to halt the impending execution of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani by stoning.

"I did not have any information about this case, but Ms Ahadi knew about it. She sent me to Iran and has gained propaganda value from my arrest. I will sue Ms Ahadi when I am back in Germany," one of the detainees was quoted as saying.

"I accept that I made a mistake. Since I had no information on the case, I was tricked by Ms Ahadi," the other German was quoted as saying.

The two Germans, who were arrested in Tabriz in the northwest of the country October 10, have not been identified.

It was not clear where the footage that was broadcast had been shot. The two men were shown close-up and looking healthy.

The television report said the pair were arrested at the office of Mohammadi-Ashtiani's lawyer while trying to interview her son and after taking pictures of Tabriz prison, were the woman is held.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani's case, revealed last summer by human rights associations, has triggered an international outcry.

She was initially given death sentences by two different courts in the northwestern Iranian 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, to die by stoning on a charge of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, was upheld by a different appeals court the same year.

Iran's judiciary says a final decision is yet to be made about the case and that it is now focusing on the murder conviction of the mother of two rather than adultery charges.

© 2010 AFP

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