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Woman Condemned In Stoning Case Makes Iran TV Appearance

A demonstrator in Italy holds a picture of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in front of the Iranian Embassy in Rome in early September.
Iranian state television has broadcast new footage of a jailed woman whose death sentence by stoning sparked international condemnation from rights groups, governments, and even the Vatican.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, speaking in her native Azeri language with Farsi subtitles, denies reports that she was lashed or tortured in prison.

Ashtiani's son is quoted in "The Guardian" dismissing the public appearance as not genuine and said he does not trust Iranian officials who have denied her access to her family and lawyers.

Televised confessions are a frequent feature of Iranian criminal proceedings, and former Iranian detainees have recounted tales of jailers' efforts to force such appearances.

Reports last month suggested Ashtiani was given 99 lashes after a British newspaper mistakenly ran a photo purporting to show her without the Islamic head scarf dictated by the strict Iranian dress code.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has said a final verdict on Ashtiani's fate has not been made.

Iranian officials have also warned foreign governments against making the stoning sentence -- in which women are buried to their waists and pelted with stones until they die -- a rights issue.

compiled from agency reports