Tehran suspends woman's stoning
Published Date: September 09, 2010 

TEHRAN: Iranian authorities have suspended the sentence of death by stoning for 
a woman convicted of adultery, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after 
weeks of condemnation from around the world. "The verdict regarding the 
extramarital affairs has stopped and it's being reviewed," Foreign Ministry 
Ramin Mehmanparast told Iran's state-run English-language Press TV. The 
statement came a day after European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso 
called the sentence "barbaric beyond words", the latest i
n a string of criticisms by foreign powers.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery - a capital crime in the 
Islamic Republic - in 2006. She also has been charged with involvement in her 
husband's murder. In a live telephone interview, Mehmanparast said the murder 
charge was "being investigated for the final verdict to be issued". Iranian 
media have suggested that the stoning sentence - imposed for certain crimes 
under sharia law which Iran adopted after the 1979 Islamic revolution -would 
not be carried out, but that Ashtiani might still be executed by hanging. "We 
think that this is a very normal case," Mehmanparast said. "This dossier looks 
like many other dossiers that exist in other countries.

At no point in the interview, which was in the Farsi language but was dubbed 
over by a simultaneous translation into English, did he mention "stoning", 
referring merely to Ashtiani's "death sentence". Mehmanparast blamed the United 
States for stirring the furore to hurt Iran's international image as it faces 
sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear program. "It looks like they are playing 
a political game," he said. According to Amnesty International, Iran is second 
only to China in the number of people it e
xecutes. It put to death at least 346 people in 2008. Murder, adultery, rape, 
armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death in 
Iran. - Reuters

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