Germans held in Iran say deceived by activist: report
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A German arrested in Iran in October while trying to interview the son of a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery was shown on Iranian state television on Monday saying he had been deceived by an Iranian activist in Germany.
He was one of two Germans arrested during an interview with the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose stoning was suspended following a global outcry.
Iranian television broadcast footage of one of the Germans, with a Farsi voiceover, saying: "I didn't know anything about this issue. But Ms. (Mina) Ahadi knew about it and since she could benefit from the propaganda on my arrest, she sent me to Iran."
"I will surely file a complaint against her when I return to Germany," the Farsi voiceover quoted him as saying.
Ahadi is a member of the International Committee Against Executions and the International Committee Against Stoning, and was reported to be translating the interview over the telephone for the two Germans.
Germany has been seeking the release of its two nationals, who Iran says entered the country on tourist visas and were working as reporters illegally. Their cases are being reviewed by the judiciary.
State television showed the second German saying "I agree that I made a mistake because I was unaware and I was deceived by Ms. Ahadi."
The two were reporting for the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Their detention risks worsening relations at a time when the European Union is trying to bring Iran back to talks over its disputed nuclear program, which the United States and its allies fear is a cover to build bombs. Iran denies this.
A woman identified as Ashtiani also told state television "I am a sinner." The woman's face was blurred and her words were translated from Azari Turkish into Farsi.
State television also showed what it said were statements by two men identified as Ashtiani's son and her lawyer. They were also arrested in October during the interview.
The judiciary convicted Ashtiani in 2006 for having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the murder of her husband. She was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress.
Her son denied reports that Ashtiani had been tortured while in detention, saying he lied under the influence of the family's lawyer, Houtan Kian.
"Unfortunately, I listened to him ... Everything I told the foreign media was a lie," said Sajjad Qaderzadeh.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied Ashtiani was ever sentenced to death by stoning, accusing foreign media of whipping up the story to discredit Iran.
Under Iran's sharia, Islamic law, adultery is punishable by stoning. Ashtiani also faces a charge of being complicit in the murder of her husband, a crime for which she could be sentenced to death by hanging.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, editing by Tim Pearce)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this