Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Judiciary Human Rights Headquarters, announced on Tuesday March 18 that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been pardoned by the judiciary.

The Fars News Agency reports that Larijani said: “The Sakineh Mohammadi file became the source of four months of widespread attacks against the regime.”

He added: “This individual was sentenced to death, but on the international level they began a whole campaign of controversy over it.”

Larijani went on to say: “We did not pay much attention to those efforts. We simply went after trying to plead mercy for her with the complainants, and once we did that, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison and now, because of good behaviour, she is being pardoned.”

In 2006, Sakineh Mohammadi was sentenced to death by stoning for “illicit sexual relations” and “complicity in the murder of her husband.”

The sentence drew outrage from Iranian human rights groups and that was reflected on the international scene.

Iranian authorities dismissed the international concern as interference in the country’s internal matters.

Mohammad Mostafayi, one of Mohammadi Ashtiani’s lawyers, fled the country, and later another of her lawyers, Javid Hootan Kian, was arrested and was only released last August.

Meanwhile, in September of 2010, two German reporters seeking an interview with Mohammadi Ashtiani and her lawyers were arrested for failing to get press permits and were imprisoned for a number of months.