21 Feb 2011

German reporters freed from Iran jail

11:45 am on 21 February 2011

Two German reporters held in Iran since October last year have been freed and are expected to be handed over to the German embassy.

Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch work for the Bild Am Sonntag newspaper and were reporting in Iran on the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who had been sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery.

The men went to Iran and interviewed family members, including the woman's son. They were arrested and sentenced to 20 months in prison for breaking the terms of their visas, the BBC reports.

The Iranian news agency is reporting the sentence has been commuted to a fine, and once this is paid the journalists are expected to return home.

The German foreign ministry said they were expected in the German embassy in Tehran on Sunday.

Ms Ashtiani's death sentence was suspended earlier in February following international criticism.