First, a primer on what stoning involves. The victim's hands are tied behind her back, and then her body is shrouded in a cloth sack, head included. Then she's buried in a hole up to her shoulders (men buried up to their necks), meaning that if she's Houdini and can somehow escape this situation she gets to live. A circle is drawn around the victim, a line from which attackers will chuck stones at the person. The stone throwing continues until the victim is dead or manages to pull that Houdini, escape the hole and escape the circle. To give an indication of the barbarism, the Taliban love it as a form of capital punishment. In Islamic Sharia law, it's indicated as a specific punishment for adulterers.
In Iran, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, is accused of illicit sex and charged with involvement in her husband's death, and her stoning sentence has caused international outcry and at least a temporary stay. But as the BBC reports, Iran isn't concerned about that outcry:
"Tehran's foreign ministry dismissed Western concerns about Iranian justice.
'Unfortunately, [they are] defending a person who is being tried for murder and adultery,' spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at a Tehran news conference.
'If releasing all those who have committed murder is to be perceived as a human rights issue, then all European countries should release all the murderers in their countries,' he was reported as saying.
...After criticism from foreign nations, there were reports in July that Iranian officials may have temporarily halted her stoning sentence. However, she still faces the possibility of death by hanging, or life imprisonment.
Her case is now being reviewed by Iran's Supreme Court. It remains stayed pending a final decision by the judiciary, Mr Mehmanparast added."
Not only do they not think it's a human rights issue, but Iran has reportedly sentenced two more people to death by stoning: Vali Janfeshani and Sariyeh Ebadi, convicted of having an extramarital affair.
And to add injury to barbarism, Ashtiani's lawyer confirms that his client was whipped with 99 lashes for "spreading corruption and indecency" because a photo of a woman without a headscarf pictured in the Times of London was mistakenly identified as her. Her family fears that with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ending this week, she could be stoned at "any moment.
The Vatican is decrying the sentence as brutal and will likely step in to try to save the woman's life. But considering that Iran refused an offer of asylum by Brazil, which is an ally of Tehran, it's a longshot that the mullahs will listen to the Holy See.