Britain condemns planned stoning in Iran as 'medieval'

8th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke out Thursday against the "medieval" planned stoning to death for adultery of a woman in Iran, saying it would "disgust and appal" the rest of the world.

Hague commented on the case of 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. Human rights group Amnesty International has said she was convicted in 2006 or 2007 and has previously received a flogging of 99 lashes.

"I'm appalled by reports of the imminent execution," Hague said at a press conference in London alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

"I think that stoning is a medieval punishment that has no place in the modern world and the continued use of such a punishment in Iran demonstrates in our view a blatant disregard for human rights."

He added: "I do call on Iran to put an immediate stay to this execution and review the process by which this woman is tried and I think if this punishment were carried out, it would disgust and appal the watching world."

Davutoglu was asked whether Turkey would raise the case with Iran.

"We're trying to work and consult on all these issues with our neighbour Iran, of course we have to see the file," he said.

The case was also raised in Britain's House of Commons, prompting speaker John Bercow to describe it as "a horrific, truly horrific matter".

"We in this house, I hope, are in favour of human rights, not of their grotesque abuse," he added.

Amnesty has called on the Iranian authorities to halt all executions and commute all death sentences.

It says that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has two children, could be "at imminent risk" of execution.

It is highlighting her case alongside that of Kurdish political activist Zeynab Jalalian, who was sentenced to death last year.

© 2010 AFP

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