( dpa ) - The German government Monday expressed abhorrence of Iran's use of capital punishment ahead of a report from Amnesty International on the practice of stoning certain categories of offenders to death.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Germany rejected capital punishment and found the practices of public hangings and stonings in Iran particularly abhorrent.
He noted that the allegations, published in a report by the human rights organization, were not new but was unable to confirm the statistics cited.
In its report, Amnesty International said that stoning was being used to put adulterers and other sex offenders to death in Iran.
"Women and men in Iran are still being put to death for consensual sexual acts, and the country still has one of the highest rates of executions in the world," it said.
Amnesty said it had recorded more than 250 executions since the beginning of 2007, far exceeding the 177 executions recorded in 2006.
Nine women and two men were known to be under sentence of execution by stoning, it added. Women suffered "a disproportionate impact of the punishment of death by stoning in Iran," Amnesty said.
The report referred to the stoning to death of a man named as Jafar Kiani in July 2007. He had been found guilty of adultery with a woman with whom he had two children. She received a similar sentence.
Amnesty said the stoning had been carried out despite a stay of execution ordered in the case and in defiance of a moratorium on stonings issued in 2002 by the Iranian judiciary.