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Stoning fate woman to stay in Iran

Iran will not send a woman who had faced death by stoning on an adultery conviction to Brazil, which has offered her asylum, the president said.

The stoning sentence for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, has been lifted for now after an outcry from the US and other governments as well as human rights groups. Brazil, which has friendly relations with Tehran, offered her asylum.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state-run English-language Press TV he did not think there was a need to send her to Brazil and that he hoped the issue "will be solved".

"There is a judge at the end of the day and the judges are independent. But I talked with the head of the judiciary and the judiciary also does not agree" with Brazil's proposal, Mr Ahmadinejad said.

"I think there is no need to create some trouble for President Lula and take her to Brazil," he added, referring to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The office of Brazil's president and its foreign ministry had no immediate comment on Mr Ahmadinejad's remarks.

Though Iran has lifted the stoning sentence, it is now accusing the woman of playing a role in her husband's 2005 murder. She could still be hanged.

Last week, Iranian state television broadcast a purported confession in which a woman identified as Ms Ashtiani said she was an unwitting accomplice in her husband's murder. Her lawyer says he suspects she was tortured into making the statement, but he has not been allowed to meet her since the broadcast to confirm that.

Human Rights Watch has said Ms Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the death of her husband and was sentenced by a court to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned to death, even though she retracted a confession she claims was made under duress.

Iran lifted that sentence last month, but now says she has been convicted of involvement in her husband's killing.

Her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, said she has never been charged with murder or brought to trial over the killing.

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