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Prominent Germans Appeal To Iran To Free Journalists

Jailed German journalists Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch (back, left to right) were allowed to meet with relatives in Tabriz on December 28.
More than 100 high-profile figures in Germany, including Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, have signed an open letter to the Iranian government calling for the release of two German journalists involved in the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death.

The letter came one day after the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, complained at a press conference assisted by Iranian authorities that the two Germans had "worsened her situation."

Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, has been sentenced to death on charges of adultery, triggering an outcry in the West.

The two German journalists were arrested October 10 after allegedly interviewing Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, who was arrested and released last month.

Iran says the two Germans broke the law by not getting the proper visa to work in the country as journalists.

Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, Defence Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg, tennis player Boris Becker, footballer Franz Beckenbauer, and Nobel literary laureate Herta Muller also signed the letter.

compiled from agency reports