Vatican: We're Watching Iran's 'Brutal' Stoning Case

Ashtiani now sentenced to 99 lashes over photo
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2010 2:48 PM CDT
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who is facing the punishment of stoning to death in Iran on charges of adultery.   (AP Photo/Amnesty International, ho)
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(Newser) – Iran may think Carla Bruni's a prostitute, but the BBC reports that it also thinks it's going to give Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani—the woman Tehran already wants to put to death by stoning—99 lashes over a photo that may or may not depict her bareheaded. Sound like she needs a little divine intervention? The AP reports that the Vatican may wade into the fracas, with a spokesman today decrying stoning as a particularly "brutal" form of execution, which it's not a huge fan of to begin with.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the Holy See "is following the case with attention and interest." Ashtiani's son says he has asked the pope to intervene, and "When the Holy See is asked to intervene in humanitarian issues with the authorities of other countries, it does so not in a public way, but through its own diplomatic channels," Lombardi said. Iran backtracked on Ashtiani's initial stoning sentence, but she may still face the gallows.

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