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Amnesty Says Iranian Stoning Defendant's Confession Was 'Orchestrated'

A placard showing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani during a protest in London against her execution
A placard showing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani during a protest in London against her execution
The rights watchdog Amnesty International has criticized the televised confession of an Iranian woman who faces execution by stoning, saying it appears that Iranian authorities "orchestrated" the event.

In the video, broadcast on state television on August 11, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani appears to implicate herself in the murder of her husband.

WATCH: You can see the state television broadcast here, with Ashtiani appearing from around the 10:30 mark.

In a statement, Amnesty says that "televised 'confessions' have repeatedly been used by the authorities to incriminate individuals in custody. Many have later retracted these 'confessions,' stating that they were coerced to make them, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment."

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director at Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program, says “statements made in such televised exchanges should have no bearing on Iran's legal system, or the call to review her case. This latest video shows nothing more than the lack of evidence against Sakineh Ashtiani."

Lawyers who are working on Ashtiani's behalf also reject the validity of the confession, saying it was extracted by torture.

Houtan Kian was quoted by the British daily "The Guardian" as saying Ashtiani was severely beaten and tortured to make her appear on television. Another lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, says the program on which she appeared, called "20:30," is controlled by the intelligence services in Iran.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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