German MPs ask Iran speaker to intervene over reporters

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A visiting parliamentary group from Germany on Monday asked Iran's speaker to intervene in the case of two Germans arrested in Iran more than a week ago, a source close to the delegation told AFP.

At a meeting with Ali Larijani, "the delegation asked for his support in this affair," and "Larijani promised to look into it," the source said.

On Friday, the public prosecutor was quoted as saying the two Germans arrested in Tabriz in northwest Iran on October 10 for interviewing the son of a woman facing execution by stoning have confessed to committing an offence.

The pair, who entered the Islamic republic on tourist visas, work for the Springer group in Germany, according to Der Spiegel weekly. Foreign reporters need special press visas to be able to work in Iran.

The convicted woman, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, was sentenced to death by two different courts in Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

The first death sentence, by hanging, for her involvement in the murder of her husband, was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

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

Since July, Iran has repeatedly said that the stoning sentence has been stayed, in the face of an international outcry.

The German parliamentarians arrived in Iran on Sunday on a six-day visit during which they will also meet representatives of the government, the opposition and human rights groups.

© 2010 AFP

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