Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Monday, 6 September 2010 20:36 UK

Death penalty in Iran

The death sentence of an Iranian woman has been strongly condemned by all sides of the European Parliament.

During an emergency debate on 6 September, MEPs considered the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

The Iranian government has now said she will be hanged.

Dutch liberal MEP Marietje Schaake claimed that 388 people were sentenced to death in Iran in 2009.

Italian Eurosceptic MEP Oreste Rossi gave a graphic description of the process of stoning, describing it as "torture before death".

Winding up the debate, Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said that the Commission would not simply "make public statements".

The case has provoked international outcry, with condemnation from across the world.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said he is willing "to do anything" to save her.

Meanwhile the Vatican has indicated that it is prepared to appeal diplomatically to Iran to spare Ms Ashtiani's life.

A resolution setting out the parliament's strong concern over the death penalty was overwhelmingly approved by 658 votes to one at the voting session on 8 September.

Read more here at Democracy Live's guide to the European Parliament plenary sessions.


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