World

Report: Iran may commute woman's stoning sentence

Iranian Sajjad Qaderzadeh, whose mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, speaks with the media in a news briefing in the northwestern city of Tabriz, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Ashtiani's sentence of death by stoning, which Iran has put on hold, has brought harsh condemnation from the U.S., the European Union and rights groups who are demanding Tehran stay the execution. It has further strained Iran's relations with world powers, already tense over the country's disputed nuclear program.

Iranian Sajjad Qaderzadeh, whose mother, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, speaks with the media in a news briefing in the northwestern city of Tabriz, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Ashtiani's sentence of death by stoning, which Iran has put on hold, has brought harsh condemnation from the U.S., the European Union and rights groups who are demanding Tehran stay the execution. It has further strained Iran's relations with world powers, already tense over the country's disputed nuclear program.

An Iranian semi-official news agency quotes a judicial official as leaving open the possibility of commuting the sentence of death by stoning against a woman convicted of adultery.

The stoning sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has drawn international condemnation and has been suspended for now.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday that judicial official Malek Ajdar Sharifi was asked whether the stoning sentence could be commuted and responded: "Anything is possible." Sharifi is the head of justice department of East Azerbaijan, the province where Ashtiani is imprisoned.

He said Ashtiani's case took a long time to decide because "there are some ambiguities in the evidence."