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French celebrities rally against Iran stoning sentence

Reuters/Mal Langsdon

Around 1,000 people rallied in Paris on Sunday to show support for an Iranian woman who is facing execution by stoning. The rally was the latest effort in the vocal French campaign to save Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani.

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Several well-known figures from politics, literature and entertainment attended Sunday's rally, including singer Jane Birkin and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.

"If we save this innocent person, we will help to save all the other women who are waiting in the corridors of death, and we will avenge those who have been stoned to death or burned alive," Lévy told the crowd.

Iranian authorities last week said that the death sentence against 43-year-old Mohammadi-Ashtiani for adultery had been suspended since July.

She has also received a 10-year jail term for participating in her husband's murder.

France has been vocal in its opposition to the sentence, with President Nicolas Sarkozy declaring that France considers itself responsible for Mohammadi-Ashtiani's safety, and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pressing for EU sanctions on Iran unless she is allowed to live.

Iran has warned the West not to interfere in its judicial matters.

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