TEHRAN, July 3 (UPI) -- An international campaign has been launched on behalf of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of adultery.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's family says she has already been punished with a flogging of 99 lashes, The Guardian reports. Her 22-year-old son, Sajad, and 17-year-old daughter, Farideh, told the newspaper she committed no crime.
"She's innocent, she's been there for five years for doing nothing," Sajad said. "Imagining her, bound inside a deep hole in the ground, stoned to death, has been a nightmare for me and my sister for all these years."
Mohammed Mostafaei, an Iranian lawyer representing Ashtiani, said the sentence is illegal because it requires explicit witnesses to the alleged adultery. He said her death sentence was handed down after she was charged with killing her husband. While she was acquitted of that charge, the court imposed the death penalty for adultery based on "judicial knowledge," which allows judges to make decisions based on their own feelings.
Mina Ahadi, an activist based in Germany, said that after she and Ashtiani's children launched the campaign she heard from the families of two other women held in Tabriz Prison and sentenced to death by stoning. One was arrested at the age of 15 but not sentenced until she was 18, the minimum age for the penalty.