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Vatican closely following Iran stoning case

Son of condemned Iranian woman appeals to pope for help; Vatican says any intervention would not be public.

September 5, 2010 4:14 by

The Vatican on Sunday said it was closely following the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and might intervene through its diplomatic channels in support of the woman.

The statement came after Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, in an interview with Italian news agency Adnkronos, appealed to Pope Benedict and the Italian government to intervene to save his mother’s life.

“The Holy See is following the case with attention and participation,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement. “The church’s position against the death penalty is well-known and stoning is a particularly brutal form of it.”

When a request for intervention on humanitarian issues pertaining to another state is made, the Vatican does so through diplomatic means rather than publicly, the statement said.

The case has highlighted Iran’s use of stoning and drawn international outrage, with several foreign political leaders and celebrities expressing solidary with the condemned woman.

Italy’s government on Sunday renewed its appeal to Iran to spare the woman’s life, saying it urged Tehran to consider a “gesture of clemency” in the case.

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