Bildt condemns Ashtiani stoning sentence

Bildt condemns Ashtiani stoning sentence
The Iranian Ambassador in Stockholm was on Wednesday summoned by the Sweden over Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old woman sentenced to death by stoning by an Iranian court.

Ambassador Rasoul Eslami “was summoned this afternoon,” ministry spokesman Kent Oeberg told AFP on Wednesday.

“He met with the ministry’s director general for political affairs Björn Lyrvall, among others,” he said, explaining the ambassador was called in over the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who fate has met with a storm of international reaction.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt condemned the sentence.

“We are against capital punishment in any case, but stoning is a particularly disgusting form of capital punishment, and Iran should realise that this is completely unacceptable,” he told Swedish public radio.

On Wednesday, Vahid Kazemzadeh, a member of Iran’s Islamic Human Rights Commission, said Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s sentence had been suspended since July, Fars news agency reported.

Kazemzadeh said Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s death sentence had been “suspended on

the orders of the head of the judiciary and will not be applied for the moment,” confirming what Iranian officials have been saying since July.

Iranian judiciary officials say that Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. She has also received a 10-year jail term for participating in her husband’s murder.

Several governments and human rights bodies have denounced her stoning as barbaric, and some have even questioned whether she received a fair trial.

Bildt credited the international uproar over the case for the suspension of the sentence.

“If we had not acted as we have over these past months, she would have presumably been killed by stoning by now,” he said.

“To some extent, we have had an influence.”

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