Stoning death sentence 'barbaric,' EU says
The European Union on Tuesday condemned the stoning death sentence passed against an Iranian woman convicted of adultery, calling it "barbaric."
In his first state of the union address to the European parliament in Strasbourg, France, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he was "appalled" by the news of the sentencing and called it "barbaric beyond words."
The sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was put on hold in July after an international outcry, and it is now being reviewed by Iran's supreme court.
Meanwhile, Ashtiani's lawyer has said there are still worries the delayed execution could be carried out soon. With the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan this week, the mother of two could be executed "any moment," said Javid Houtan Kian.
He also confirmed that Ashtiani was lashed 99 times last week in a separate punishment meted out because a British newspaper ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as her. Under Iran's clerical rule, women must cover their hair in public. The newspaper later apologized for the error.
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.
"The possibility of stoning still exists, any moment," Kian said. "Her stoning sentence was only delayed. It has not been lifted yet."