« Previous | Main | Next »

Does capital punishment in the US undermine its authority on human rights?

Eleonore Dresch | 10:29 UK time, Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Iranian government thinks so, and accuses the United States of a double standard. It says the US is not in a position to criticise Iran over the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death for murder and adultery because the state of Virginia plans to execute a woman for the first time in almost 100 years.

Leading human rights groups have campaigned to stop both executions.

In Iran, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning after having been convicted of murder and adultery. The sentence led to widespread international criticism. Since then the Iranian authorities have suspended her execution by stoning, but the death sentence remains in place.

Last month, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned Ashtiani in a declaration, and urged Iran to respect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens.

That's the picture in Iran.

Meanwhile, this Thursday in the American state of Virginia, another woman, Teresa Lewis, is due to be executed from lethal injection, barring a last-minute reprieve from the US Supreme Court .The 41-year-old has admitted that she conspired with two accomplices who shot and killed her husband and stepson in 2002. One of them was her lover at the time. The two gun-men were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Human rights organisation have called for a halt to her execution - a request that has not been granted by the governor of Virginia.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Iran's parliamentary human rights committee said it would file an official complaint to the international community against the US if the execution goes ahead.

In addition to that, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has slammed the US media, arguing it provided wide coverage of Ashtiani, while ignoring Teresa Lewis's case. "A woman is going to be executed in the US but nobody cares," the Iranian president said.

So what do you think? Is Teresa Lewis's case comparable to that of Sakineh Mohammadi? Let us know.

We'll be looking at the issue on World Update on Thursday

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.