Amnesty International Criticizes Latest TV "Confession" in Iran by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, Saying it Was Likely Made Under Duress

(London) -- Amnesty International today criticized the latest TV broadcast of a “confession” by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who is awaiting execution by stoning for adultery in Iran.

Self-incriminating statements by her son Sajjad Qaderzadeh and two German journalists were also broadcast on the program, which aired on Iranian state TV on Monday night. A voiceover also said that the 43-year-old mother's lawyer, Javid Houtan Kiyan, had admitted to telling her son to lie.

Amnesty International noted that international standards for fair trial, to which Iran is a state party, guarantee the right not to be forced to incriminate oneself or to confess guilt.

Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa program, said: “Amnesty International believes these statements were made under duress and should not be accepted as evidence. Televised 'confessions' should have no bearing on Iran's legal system.”

Smart said: “The statements form part of a growing catalogue of other forced 'confessions' and self-incriminating statements made by detainees and broadcast on state media. Many who have made similar 'confessions' have later retracted them stating that they were coerced, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment.”

“The Iranian authorities must not execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani by any means and release her if she continues to be held solely on the grounds of consensual sexual relations.”

“Sajjad Qaderzadeh, Javid Houtan Kiyan and anyone else held solely for peacefully highlighting Sakineh’s case should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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