Vatican's Aid Sought for Iranian Sentenced to Stoning

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The director of the Vatican press office indicated today that the Holy See would like to help stop the death by stoning of Sakineh Mohammdi Ashtiani.

The Iranian woman is convicted of adultery and condemned to be stoned to death. Iran has said that her sentence is not because of adultery but complicity in her husband’s death.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists that “the Holy See is following the situation with attention and participation.”

The woman’s plight has brought international criticism due to efforts by her son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh, to save her by drawing attention to her case. Ghaderzadeh told an Italian news agency that he has appealed to the Vatican for mediation.

Father Lombardi noted the Church’s general opposition to the death penalty, adding that «stoning is a particularly brutal form [of it].»

He said mediation from the Vatican would come through diplomacy, not a public protest: «When the Holy See is asked in an appropriate way to intervene with authorities in other countries in humanitarian questions — as has occurred often in the past — she does so not in a public way but through the proper diplomatic channels.»

An offer from Brazil to give her asylum has already been turned down.

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