Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Italy: Foreign minister urges Tehran to save Iranian mother-of-two

French feminist movement 'Ni putes, ni soumises' (Neither Whores, Nor Submissives) activists hold a poster of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani during a demonstration on September 12, 2010, at the Republique Square in Paris.

Rome, 28 Sept. (AKI) - Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini on Wednesday urged Iran's authorities to save Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a mother-of-two who faces execution for adultery and helping kill her husband.

"The execution must be stopped. We need to tell Iran there is a need for dialogue and clemency," Frattini (photo) told state TV channel Rai1.

Ashtiani's plight sparked an international outcry after she was sentenced to stoning.

In an interview published in the Tehran Times newspaper on Tuesday, Iran's chief prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said Ashtiani will not be stoned for adultery but will be hanged for helping murder her husband.

In interviews with Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI), Ashtiani's son Sajjad Ghadarzadeh has appealed to Italy and to the Vatican to help save his mother's life.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano earlier this month urged Iran's hardline authorities to spare Ashtiani. Italy would do its upmost to prevent "such a deeply harmful act against liberty and the sanctity of human life," he said.

Ashtiani is detained in Tabriz prison in northwestern Iran and has no contact with her son or her teenage daughter.

Movie star Javier Bardem, champion soccer player Francesco Totti and Italian Nobel prize winner Rita Levi Montalcini, and dozens of Iranian intellectuals are among 200 people who have backed AKI's campaign to save Ashtiani.

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