France steps up campaign to stop Iran woman stoning
A French campaign to stop the stoning to death of an Iranian woman convicted of adultery intensified Thursday after President Nicolas Sarkozy added his support.
Two French former presidents and the current president's wife, Carla Bruni, are among signatories to a petition launched by a Parisian writer to save 43-year-old mother-of-two Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani.
Sarkozy threw his weight behind the campaign on Wednesday when he said that "France considers that it is responsible" for the woman, who was convicted in Iran for adultery and for being an accomplice in her husband's murder.
"The (Iranian) regime exercises control by repression and resorts massively to capital punishment, including its most medieval form, stoning, with which Mrs Mohammadi-Ashtiani is threatened," he told a meeting of French ambassadors.
France's former president Jacques Chirac on Tuesday joined Nobel laureates and Hollywood stars in their bid to try to stop the execution, which some reports say has been changed to death by hanging.
He signed the petition on writer Bernard-Henri Levy's website that has already been inked by figures such as Czech author Milan Kundera, pop star and anti-poverty activist Bob Geldof and actresses Juliette Binoche and Mia Farrow.
Another French former president, Valery Giscard D'Estaing, has also signed the petition calling on the Islamic republic to spare Mohammadi-Ashtiani and "recognise her innocence."
© 2010 AFP