The sister of an Iranian doctor convicted of "waging war against God" says his death sentence has been canceled, but his lawyer insists no official announcement has been made.
Dr. Hamid Ghareh Hassanlou, 53, was handed capital punishment on December 5 for his alleged role in the death of a member of the paramilitary Basij force. His wife was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the same case.
"The doctor's family was informed this morning of the cancellation of Hamid's death sentence," EtemadOnline quoted his sister as saying.
"We are trying to prove the complete innocence of Hamid and his wife. Hamid will go to prison and the family will probably be able to visit him from now on," Fatemeh Ghareh Hassanlou added.
The doctor's lawyer told Shargh newspaper that the Supreme Court “has not given any opinion on the cancellation and nothing has been officially communicated to us."
"I don't know why [his sister] said such a thing, but it is possible that she was informed by unofficial authorities…I cannot say that the death sentence has been cancelled unless I receive something official," lawyer Mohsen Bayat said.
The Iranian authorities have cracked down hard on the wave of protests sparked by the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police.
At least 469 people have been killed by security forces, including 63 children, according to one human rights group.
At least 18,000 others have been detained. Dozens have been handed capital punishment or are facing charges that carry a death sentence. Iran carried out the first two executions earlier this month, triggering international condemnation.