BRUSSELS — European Union nations slammed Iran on Wednesday for its plans to stone a woman convicted of adultery, increasing the global pressure on Tehran over a case it has tried to frame as a criminal matter and not one of human rights.
The plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani , a 43-year-old mother of two, has cast a harsh light on Iran's version of Islamic justice and taken multiple twists. Iran appears to have put the stoning on hold for now but has also indicated Ashtiani could be hanged for her conviction of playing a role in her husband's 2005 murder.
Even as Iran insists the case is a matter for its own courts and society, the global outcry has grown.
On Wednesday, the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, France, passed a resolution condemning Tehran, a move that comes on the heels of EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso calling stoning "barbaric." The vote passed by a huge 658-to-1 margin with 22 abstentions. The vote against was an error and was to be amended in the parliamentary records later.
Sweden summoned Iran's ambassador to protest the sentence.
"It is important that we are not passive in a case that — except for her own destiny — has become a symbol for the repression in Iran," Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. "We are against the death penalty in all cases, but stoning is a specifically vile form of the death penalty."