Stoning of Iranian woman `barbaric`: EU
Strasbourg: European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said he was "appalled" to learn of the sentencing to death by stoning of a 43-year-old Iranian woman and called it "barbaric beyond words".
Barroso made the remarks in his first annual State of the Union address to the European parliament in Strasbourg, France.
The Parliament is expected in the next few days to pass a resolution condemning the execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the mother of two, who has been sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of adultery by an Iranian court.
The execution of Ashtiani was put on hold in July after an international outcry over the punishment, but her lawyer says her life still hangs by a thread.
Ashtiani, who was also convicted of helping in the killing of her husband, is detained in Iran`s northwestern city of Tabriz.
There are concerns that she could be executed as soon as Friday, when the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan comes to an end, her lawyer Javid Houtan Kian, said from Tabriz.
France and Italy have urged Iran to give amnesty to Ashtiani but Iran Tuesday dismissed European concerns and rejected talks over the case.
Iran`s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Ashtiani had been charged with murder and infidelity and the case shouldn`t be linked to human rights.
Speaking hours after Mehmanparast`s remarks, Barroso urged greater protection of the rights of the EU`s largest ethnic minority - the 12 million-strong Roma community.
"Governments must respect human rights, including those of minorities. Racism and xenophobia have no place in Europe," said Baroso.
His remarks indirectly targeted the French government, which last month controversial deportations of hundreds of Roma last month.
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