An international outcry appears to have bought Iranian mother Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani more time: According to an Iranian news agency, Iran's judiciary chief has temporarily halted the death by stoning of Ashtiani. Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the judiciary head in East Azerbaijan province said, "The verdict has been halted due to humanitarian reservations and upon the order of the honorable judiciary chief [Sadeq Larijani] and it will not be carried out for the moment." According to Sharifi the execution will happen eventually, but only when the chief decides, saying "Whenever the judiciary chief deems it expedient, the verdict will be carried out regardless of Western media propaganda." Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two pleaded guilty to adultery in 2006 and was lashed 99 times; however, her lawyer contends that she did not understand the court proceedings—she is Azerbaijani and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.
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