Pressure to free two Germans will backfire: Iran
Iran warned on Tuesday that campaigns to free two German journalists detained over the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning will "backfire" and urged Germany to avoid politicising the issue.
"A movement in Germany is seeking to pressure our judiciary by launching campaigns and gathering various personalities," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press briefing.
"We warn again that our judiciary is completely independent and does not decide under pressure. Our German friends should know that applying pressure to change the opinion of the court and judiciary officials will backfire.
"They had better not politicise a legal question," he said.
One hundred prominent Germans, including business leaders, ministers and top sports stars, on Sunday urged Iran to free the two who were arrested on October 10 in Tabriz for interviewing the son and family lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning.
The appeal was published by Bild am Sonntag weekly, the publication which employs the two journalists.
Iran says the Germans, who have not been named, entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain the necessary accreditation for journalists from the authorities before "posing as reporters" when they contacted Mohammadi Ashtiani's family.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg have joined calls for their release.
Other signatories included the heads of Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and BMW, footballer Philipp Lahm, Formula One star and seven-time former world champion Michael Schumacher and Nobel literature laureate Herta Mueller.
© 2011 AFP