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Iran: Final verdict not in yet on stoning case

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The Ashtiani case has sparked international outrage
  • Iran says its judiciary system is independent
  • France wants EU to consider new "initiatives" against Iran

(CNN) -- Iranian judicial authorities say a final verdict in the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning has not yet been made and defended the country's legal process amid an outcry over the pending execution, Iranian media reported Saturday.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two, has been sentenced to death for adultery by stoning. Last month, Iran's top human rights official said the Islamic regime was reviewing her sentence as international outrage emerged over the case.

Iran's Judiciary High Council of Human Rights in a communique said evidence shows that allegations against Ashtiani "have been proved right" and that Iran's judiciary operates independently as other justice systems do, the semi-official Iranian Student's News Agency reported.

"The stance taken by officials of other countries and international authorities on legal issues of countries is a wrong, unfair and biased prejudgment since they do not have access to reliable sources of the counties," the council said.

The statement came soon after France asked the European Union to come up new approaches to get Iran to stop the pending execution. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner raised the issue Wednesday with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, asking that measures be studied to bring Iran to stop such violations of human rights.

"We need to encourage the Union in initiatives to remind Iranian authorities that, as well on the nuclear file, their attitude of isolation has a price, which they can liberate as soon as they choose a more responsible behavior and more in line with their international commitments on the subject of human rights," Kouchner said in a letter to Ashton published in the French

press on Friday.

The International Committee Against Stoning, a human rights group, has said a court has delayed the final verdict of the woman. Iran announced she will not be executed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends around September 9.