UK urges Iran to stop stoning

2010-07-08 21:39

London - Britain urged Iran on Thursday to halt the execution of a woman who a rights group says faces death by stoning for adultery.

"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 commitments which it has previously entered into," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference.

Human rights group Amnesty International said last week it feared that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has two children, could be executed by stoning at any time for adultery.

It said she was convicted in 2006 of having had an "illicit relationship" with two men and received 99 lashes as her sentence.

The rights group said that, despite this, Mohammadi Ashtiani was subsequently convicted of "adultery while being married", which it said she denied, and was sentenced to death by stoning.

Hague called on Iran to put an immediate stay on the execution and review the process by which Mohammadi Ashtiani was tried.

"If this punishment was carried out it would disgust and appal the watching world," he said.