Speaker urged to help prevent Iranian stoning

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Commons Speaker John Bercow has been urged to add his voice to an international campaign to prevent the stoning of an alleged adulteress in Iran.

Mr Bercow said there were "real limitations" on what he could say as a result of his position but told the Commons: "We in this House, I hope, are in favour of human rights, not of their grotesque abuse."

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, faces death by stoning after what her lawyer described as a "sham" conviction.

The issue was raised as a point of order by veteran Labour MP David Winnick (Walsall N) who asked Mr Bercow to take the exceptional step of making a public statement on a political issue.

He told Mr Bercow: "You of course are the servant of the House of Commons and it could be argued that you should not make any statement without the authority of the House.

"However in this rare exception I'm asking whether you feel you could raise your voice about what is intending to happen as an act of outright barbarism by the Iranian government."

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