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Iranian Woman Sentenced to Stoning is Freed

On March 18, Iranian officials pardoned and released Mokarrameh Ebrahimi after 11 years in prison awaiting execution. A 43-year-old mother of three, Ms. Ebrahimi and Jafar Kiani, Ebrahimi's partner and the father of two of her children, were convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. Despite a stay of execution from Iran's top Judiciary official, authorities stoned Mr. Kiani to death on July 5, 2007. Human Rights Watch, concerned that Ms. Ebrahimi would face the same fate, issued a letter to the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, urging prompt action to prevent the stoning of Ms. Ebrahimi and calling on Iranian authorities to permanently remove stoning as a form of punishment in the country's Islamic Penal Code. Iranian officials eventually freed Ms. Ebrahimi along with her son and she returned to her family in northern Iran. While the reasons for her release are unclear, it appears that the attention generated by human rights groups played an important part.

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