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Iran - France

Controversial French comedian asks Tehran for clemency in stoning case

French comedian Dieudonné
French comedian Dieudonné AFP

French comedian and political activist Dieudonné arrived in Tehran on Monday in an attempt to save Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who is facing a death sentence by stoning for adultery and her alleged role in her husband’s death.

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Dieudonné said last week he would personally ask Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for clemency for Mohammadi-Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence was stayed in July by the authorities amid international outcry.

The comedian, founder of the European anti-Zionist party, was warmly welcomed by the fiercely anti-Israeli Ahmadinejad when the pair first met in Tehran back in November 2009.

However, it is still unknown which Iranian officials Dieudonné will meet during his two-day visit.

France has been vocal in its demand for Mohammadi Ashtiani's life to be spared, but has distanced itself from Dieudonné's efforts and told Agence Frence Presse it "doubted the sincerity" of his motives.

Paris has distanced itself from the comedian, who has been been branded an anti-Semite for his outspoken shows on Israel and the Holocaust. Saying Dieudonné is not acting on a French mandate, authorities have underscored that his visit is not supported by the French embassy in Tehran.

Iran has so far dismissed all appeals to release Ashtiani, saying a final decision regarding her case is still pending.

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