Former Press TV journalists stand up for Ashtiani

A group of journalists formerly employed by Press TV, the controversial news network controlled by the Iranian government, have written a letter to The Times calling for the release of a woman sentenced to death for adultery.

Seven journalists whop have worked for Press TV, including Andrew Gilligan and Nick Ferrari, have taken up the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who was condemned to death by stoning in Iran for after being found guilty of an “illicit relationship” with two men.

The letter, which appeared in the Times on 12 August, stated: “Sir, We are journalists who worked for Press TV, Iran’s English-language news channel.

“We support the peoples of Iran and their right to determine the country’s future, free of foreign pressure or intervention.

“However, we are distressed by the uncertainty over the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for alleged adultery.

“We believe that, almost certainly, her conviction failed to meet Iran’s Islamic evidential requirements.

“We also regret the intimidatory acts committed against Ms Ashtiani’s lawyer and his family (report, Aug 9).

“We appeal to Chief Justice Sadeq Larijani to order the rapid release of Ms Ashtiani, who has already served five years in prison and received 99 lashes.

“We also ask him to protect defence lawyers from state harassment and to curb the excesses of those prosecutors who either ignore or flagrantly abuse basic principles of Islamic law.”

The letter was signed by Martin Short, Fiona O’Cleirigh, Michael Dobbs, Tim Llewellyn, Mark Watts, Andrew Gilligan and Nick Ferrari.

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