Brazil says offer of asylum to death-facing Iranian woman is official

14:52, August 14, 2010      

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Brazil said on Friday its ambassador to Tehran met with a senior official of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in early August to offer to receive Sakineh Moahammadi Ashtianti, an Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery, thereby making the appeal official.

Ambassador Antonio Salgado met with the Acting Deputy Minister for the Americas of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to officially extend the offer, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry believes that the meeting "is, from the diplomatic point of view, the formalization of the offer," it said.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered asylum on July 31 to Sakineh Ashtianti, a 43-year-old woman who was convicted in 2006 of having illegal relations with two men after the death of her husband. Her sentence to death by stoning has sparked outcries outside Iran recently.

But Moshen Shaterzadeh, Iran's Ambassador to Brazil, told Agencia Brasil news service on Thursday that Tehran has not received any official demand or offer that Moahammadi Ashtiani be transferred to Brazil, saying that "there is no written document or exchange of notes."

Shaterzadeh said that the crime was judged according to the legal code of Iran, "which is in accordance with the moral and cultural precepts of the country," and that the trial involved only Iranians.

President Lula has had good relations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In the statement on Friday, the Foreign Ministry of Brazil said that the appeal was made on purely humanitarian basis and that it does not seek to interfere in Iranian sovereignty.

It added that it hoped the appeal also based on the "good relationship between the two governments ... will receive the due attention of the authorities of the country."

Source: Xinhua


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