Showing posts with label executions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label executions. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Iran Accuses United States Of Double Standard

Iran accused the US of human rights violations today over plans by the state of Virginia to execute a woman for the first time in nearly 100 years, despite claims that she has severe learning difficulties.

Iran's state-sponsored media has devoted considerable coverage to reports about Teresa Lewis, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday for arranging the murder of her husband and stepson in 2002.

The parliamentary human rights committee said her case reflected "the double standards" of the American government, comparing her case to that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

"We will file an official complaint to the international community against the US if the sentence is administered," Hossein Naghavi, an Iranian MP and the spokesman for the committee, told the semi-official Fars news agency. Several Iranian MPs have expressed concerns over Lewis's execution and have asked the US for her sentence to be commuted.

America was one of the several countries to express outrage over Ashtiani's case, which has embarrassed the Iranian government after receiving considerable international attention. Iran has since suspended the stoning sentence, although Ashtiani is still being held in jail and her family fear for her life.

In Virginia, governor Robert McDonnell refused an appeal for clemency for Lewis, who lawyers say has an IQ of 72. The supreme court has ruled that anyone with an IQ below 70 may not be executed. She has one last chance of appealing to the US supreme court ahead of her scheduled execution. The men who carried out the killings – one of whom was Lewis's lover – received life sentences.

Iranian news agencies highlighted similarities between the cases, reporting that Lewis, like Ashtiani, had been convicted of "having an extramarital relationship". MPs criticised the US for sentencing Lewis to death while sparing the lives of the killers – as happened in Ashtiani's case.

The Fars news agency criticised the US media for "being silent in the past seven years Lewis has been kept in jail". "On her execution day she'll wish for a better country whose judiciary would listen to its people rather than intervening in the internal affairs of other countries," it said.

"It's not been a long time since the American media attacked Iran over the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani … Lewis's case has similarities with Mohammadi Ashtiani's case with the difference that Sakineh has been found guilty for the crime she committed but there are lots of ambiguities in Teresa's case. The US and the American media tried their best to make a symbol of human rights out of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani because of the background of their atrocities towards Iran but after seven years, human rights organisations have been silent for Teresa. This shows their double standard in relation to other counties."

Iranian MPs Zohreh Elahian and Salman Zaker also condemned the US over Lewis's sentence which they say is "contradictory to international standards". They have called for a judicial review.

In an interview with ABC last weekend in New York, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied Ashtiani had ever been given a death sentence by stoning.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Only Woman On Virginia Death Row To Die By Lethal Injection


The Virginia Department of Corrections says the only woman on the state's death row has declined to choose the method of her scheduled Sept. 23 execution.

That means lethal injection will be the procedure when 40-year-old Teresa Lewis of Pittsylvania County is put to death for plotting to have her husband and stepson killed in 2002 so she could collect a $250,000 life insurance policy.

State law allows a condemned inmate to select either electrocution or lethal injection. The latter procedure is used if the inmate declines to choose.

Lewis would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years and the first in the U.S. since 2005.

Lewis offered herself and her 16-year-old daughter for sex to two men who committed the killings. She provided money to buy the murder weapons and stood by while they shot her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr., 51, and stepson Charles J. Lewis, 25.

Lewis rummaged through her husband's pockets for money while he lay dying and waited nearly an hour before calling 911.

The gunmen, Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger, were sentenced to life in prison. Shallenberger committed suicide in prison in 2006.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Utah Man Faces Firing Squad

By the time this is read on here this man will be history. Method of Execution: Firing Squad

DRAPER, Utah - A Utah inmate facing a firing squad execution has been moved to an observation cell adjacent to the death chamber, the place where he will spend his final hours. Prison officials are monitoring the activities of 49-year-old Ronnie Lee Gardner and all units at the prison are under lockdown until the execution is carried out at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning.

"There will be people constantly monitoring his activities," said Steve Gehrke, spokesman for the Utah Department of Corrections. "At some point closer to the actual execution time, he will be moved to the execution chamber itself."

FOX 13 News has learned Gov. Gary Herbert has denied a second request from Gardner's attorneys to temporarily halt the execution. The 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Denver has also denied Gardner's request to halt the execution. And finally the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.has also been denied, sealing Gardners fate to face the firing squad.

Gehrke was informed during a press conference at about 9 p.m. Thursday night that "there are no pending issue in front of the courts right now."

Gehrke said the mood among other inmates at the prison is now somber. He also said correctional staff at the prison has been in contact with Gardner.

"He's reading a book called Devine Justice, it's a sort of spy thriller novel; he's watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy," said Gehrke.

"Yes there are certain correctional staff here that have spoken with Gardner and have been in contact with him," Gehrke said. "Last night when they moved him, they characterized his mood as reflective."

Officials said Gardner had his last meal Wednesday, which consisted of a lobster tail, steak, apple pie, ice cream and a 7-Up and is now going through a self imposed 48-hour fast leading up to his execution.

Holes in this wall are where the executioners will position their rifles.

Gardner had his last meeting with family members at the prison Wednesday night. The prison has invited witnesses from the government, the families of the victims, Gardner's family and the media to attend the execution.

Gardner has chosen to die by firing squad for killing attorney Michael Burdell during a 1985 courthouse escape attempt. He was in court for the murder of Melvyn Otterstrom during a robbery. On his way out of the courthouse, Gardner also shot and wounded deputy Nick Kirk, who died years later. Kirk's widow believes the gunshot wounds eventually killed her husband.

Throughout the legal proceedings leading up to the execution, the families of Gardner's victims have been divided on the issue of the death penalty. Burdell's fiancée, Donna Nu, said she opposes executing him; the Otterstrom and Kirk families want Gardner put to death.

The debate over the method of execution has sparked international interest. News media from across the globe are expected to arrive at the Utah State Prison to cover the execution. Utah officially did away with the firing squad as a method of execution in 2004, but several inmates are "grandfathered in."

The execution is also drawing protests. The group Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty held a prayer vigil at St. Mark's Cathedral at 5:30 p.m., then a rally was held at the state capitol at 9 p.m.