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Iran grants consular access to detained Germans

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Iran grants consular access to detained Germans
Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani faces death by stoning in Iran. Photo: DPA
13:53 CEST+02:00
Iran said it granted consular access to two arrested Germans who reportedly interviewed the son of a woman sentenced to death by stoning, as an activist said the son was to appear before judges Tuesday.

"Following talks with German officials ... consular access to these two people has been granted," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly news conference.

The Germans were arrested in the northwestern city of Tabriz on October 10 reportedly while interviewing Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, whose mother is facing death by stoning on charges of adultery.

Speaking from her base in Germany, exiled human rights activist Mina Ahadi told AFP that Mohammadi-Ashtiani's son and lawyer were due to appear before judges later Tuesday.

She said she was "very worried" for the fate of 22-year-old Sajjad, who "had done nothing except try to help his mother," Ahadi said in a telephone interview.

Ahadi added both Sajjad and the lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, had been put under "intense pressure" during interrogations that she said took place last week.

The Germans, who entered the Islamic republic on tourist visas, work for the Springer group in Germany, according to Der Spiegel weekly. Foreign reporters need special press visas to be able to work in Iran.

Mehmanparast reiterated on Tuesday that the Germans had "committed an offence because they entered the country with tourist visas but engaged in journalistic work."

"Their case is with judiciary officials."

A visiting parliamentary group from Germany on Monday asked Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani to intervene in the case, a source close to the delegation told AFP.

Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by two different courts in Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.

The first death sentence, by hanging, for her involvement in the murder of her husband, was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.

But the second, by stoning, was on a charge of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, and was upheld by another appeals court the same year.

Since July, Iran has repeatedly said that the stoning sentence has been stayed pending a final decision, amid international outcry over the case.

AFP/ka

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