Britain blasts Iran over stoning case

18th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Iran had showed an "unwillingness" to follow even its own standards in recent judicial cases, after a junior foreign minister met Iran's ambassador on Wednesday.

The Foreign Office said Alistair Burt and ambassador Rasoul Movahedian discussed the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning by an Iranian court.

Burt also raised the plight of Ebrahim Hamidi, an 18-year-old Iranian man facing execution over a sodomy charge.

A Foreign Office statement said: "These cases are indicative of a continued unwillingness by Iran to follow even its own judicial standards and due process.

"In each case, the minister made clear UK concerns, and urged Iran to fulfil its international obligations, as well as its responsibilities to its own citizens under the Iranian constitution."

Burt said he hoped Iran realised that "international scrutiny will not dissipate with time -- the British government is committed to raising these issues regularly and ensuring that those unfairly persecuted in Iran are not ignored."

Iran on Tuesday told Western nations to stay out of the Ashtiani case, warning it would not tolerate any interference in the matter.

Its judiciary chief has temporarily suspended the sentence from being carried out to allow the case to be examined.

Officials in the Islamic republic maintain the woman was handed the stoning sentence for adultery and for being an accomplice in her husband's murder.

Iran frequently accuses Britain of meddling in its internal affairs, and last year alleged London had fuelled opposition protests in the unrest which followed the disputed presidential election.

© 2010 AFP

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