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PM begs for mercy

PM begs for mercy


This country’s leader has made a direct plea to Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to spare the life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to be stoned to death on an adultery conviction.{{more}}

“I am not questioning their jurispudence; I have my private view of that. What I am asking for is mercy,” said Gonsalves, adding that every judicial or religious system has mercy in it.

Prior to discussions held with Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly recently, Gonsalves disclosed that he had sent a letter to the president on the matter.

The Prime Minister said when he met Ahmadinejad, the president replied that the case has not run its course through the judicial system, so it is premature to speak about mercy.

“Well that may be so, but I register my concern directly,” said Gonslaves, noting that he is the only CARICOM leader that has addressed the issue with Iran, along with President Lula da Silva of Brazil.

“Of course he offers his own defence, well not defence, his explanation,” said Gonsalves.

“I will tell you, I can’t sit and see somebody being stoned to death; a woman being stoned to death and don’t raise my voice of concern. I know him, I met him, I took a message from the Pope to him.

“His government has given us money for the International Airport, but it doesn’t mean that because he has done that that I will not open my mouth and comment about something which I feel it,” said Gonsalves, adding that he pictures Ashtiani in her cell, not knowing what will happen to her.

Furthermore, he acknowledged that he is not commenting adversely about Iran’s judicial system, rather he is addressing the issue of mercy.

Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men after the murder of her husband the year before and was sentenced at that time to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession that she says was made under duress.(HN)