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Hillary Clinton to Iran: stop using death penalty so much

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more.

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday added her voice to the growing international chorus condemning what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution as almost routine punishment in Iran.

The high-profile case Secretary Clinton cited in a statement is that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was handed a sentence of death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.

The Iranian government later announced she would not face death by stoning. But Clinton said that other cases where Iranians face execution for “exercising their right to free expression” after the disputed June 2009 elections, or for homosexuality, suggest that many legal cases in Iran are not proceeding “with the transparency or due process enshrined in Iran’s own constitution.”

Both President Obama and Clinton were sharply criticized for remaining tight-lipped during the tumultuous days of public protest following Iran’s presidential election in June 2009. Human rights activists accused the Obama administration of overlooking widely broadcast evidence of rights abuses so as not to jeopardize Obama’s policy of seeking dialogue with the government in Tehran over its nuclear program.

In the president’s defense, administration officials said Obama and other policymakers were concerned that any expression of support for the election protesters could be used by the government against them.

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