EU chides Iran for stoning sentences, demands halt to executions for 9

The EU urged Iran Thursday to prevent the execution by stoning of eight women and a man convicted of adultery. Rights groups in Teheran said Sunday the nine were convicted in separate cases in Iranian cities and could be executed at any time. Under Iran's Islamic laws, adultery is the only capital offense punishable by stoning. A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck. Stones are thrown until the condemned dies. In a statement, the EU said Iran has "pledged to introduce a moratorium on stoning," adding it must abide by its commitments and international human rights standards. "The European Union calls on the Iranian government and parliament to abolish, in law and in practice, recourse to cruel and degrading punishment and, in particular the use of stoning, as a method of execution," said the statement issued by France which currently holds the EU presidency.