Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Iran: Women sentenced to death by stoning; Sakineh's children ask Italy for asylum

Sajjad and Saideh Ghaderzadeh

Tehran, 5 Oct. (AKI) - The children of an Iranian woman condemned to death by stoning for adultery and killing her husband are asking Italy for asylum after feeling threatened by security authorities at home.

"Our condition continually gets more difficult and and we are scared of getting arrested," Sajjad and Sahideh Ghaderzadeh said in a Tuesday interview with Adnkronos International (AKI). "Considering the attention Italy has given to our case we are asking [Italian prime minister] Silvio Berlusconi for political asylum so we can have a place to find refuge in case we are persecuted by the government.

The Ghaderzades' mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, had been sentenced to death by stoning but following international pressure, Iranian authorities in have said they would not carry out the stoning sentence for the time being, but she still faces execution by hanging.

Many of Italy's political and cultural figures have expressed support for Ashtiani's children in the AKI interview also renewed their appeal to Pope Benedict XVI to intervene on their behalf.

"We hope that the Vatican increases pressure on the Iranian government. We are alone and abandoned," they said.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Frederico Lombardi last month indicated that the Vatican is monitoring the case.

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