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Vatican: Stoning in Iran adultery case 'brutal'

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is raising the possibility of a diplomatic effort to try to spare the life of an Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned for adultery.
In its first public statement on the case, the Vatican decries stoning as a particularly brutal form of capital punishment.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Sunday the Catholic church opposes the death penalty in general.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a widow convicted of adultery. Her son, Sajad, told an Italian news agency he was appealing to the pope to work to stop the execution.
Lombardi said that no formal appeal had apparently reached the Vatican, but said the Holy See is closely following the case and hinted it could use behind-the-scenes diplomacy to try to help.
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