Twelve Iranian women and three men are on death row awaiting execution by stoning despite an apparent last-minute reprieve for a mother of two who had been facing the horrific sentence after being convicted of adultery.
Human rights groups and activists welcomed a wave of international publicity and protests over the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, who was awaiting execution in the western Iranian town of Tabriz after what her lawyer called an unjust trial and a sham conviction.
The Iranian embassy in London said in a statement that “according to information from the relevant judicial authorities” the stoning would not go ahead. If confirmed it would be an victory for a brief but intense campaign that was first highlighted by the Guardian last week.
However, there are still concerns over her plight. In a previous case a prisoner who was to be stoned was instead executed by hanging.