LONDON (AFP) – An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in Iran pleaded to be allowed to hug her children, in a letter attributed to her released by human rights activists in London on Saturday.
Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was given the sentence after being found guilty.
It sparked an outcry in Western countries, and was temporarily halted earlier this month by Iranian judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani.
“I’m Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. From Tabriz Prison I thank all those who are thinking of me,” said the letter, translated from Farsi into English and released by the International Committee against Stoning.
The message was relayed in a telephone conversation, a committee spokeswoman told AFP, without going into further details.
“I am now quiet and sad because a part of my heart is frozen,” it said.
“The day I was flogged in front of (my son) Sajjad, I was crushed and my dignity and heart were broken.
“The day I was given the stoning sentence, it was as if I fell into a deep hole and I lost consciousness.
“Many nights, before sleeping, I think to myself how can anybody be prepared to throw stones at me; to aim at my face and hands? Why?
“I’m afraid of dying. Help me stay alive and hug my children.”
Mohammadi-Ashtiani was convicted on May 15, 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men, according to her lawyer and London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Amnesty said she received 99 lashes as per her sentence but was subsequently accused of “adultery while being married” in September 2006 during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband.