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Iranian Woman To Be Stoned
Friday, 28-Jan-2011 6:05PM United Press International
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TEHRAN, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Hollywood stars have supported an illiterate Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning but critics say her case is diverting attention from real dissidents.

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In 2006, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two was convicted of adultery and for aiding her husband's killer, The Washington Post reported.

Ashtiani confessed on state-run television to being an accomplice in the electrocution and stabbing death of her husband and committing adultery with his cousin on state-run television but her attorney alleges she made the confession after two days of torture, the Post reported Thursday.

Many celebrities, including Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow, have rallied behind her cause but the case of one illiterate woman isn't the issue to some.

"Our political prisoners are the main issue here", said Leili Rashidi, a well-known Iranian actress who campaigned for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's challenger in 2009. "I am sad that Mohammadi was given a death verdict, but in the present-day circumstances of my country, Iran, her issue just is not a main priority for me."

The cause celebre over Mohammadi's case is hard to take for others.

"Why is there so much concentration for a case of a possible murderer, when there are such obvious cases of oppression in Iran?" said Faghrolsadat Mohtashamipour, who has written a series of deeply affectionate open letters to her imprisoned husband, Mustafa Tajzadeh, a prominent critic of the government.

"There are many cases of women who are 100 percent innocent but they are imprisoned. Why do international activists so strongly support somebody whose actions have been so unclear?" asked Mohtashamipour.

"All focus is on Mohammadi", Mohtashamipour said. "We are very sad about that."

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