Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come out against the death penalty — at least for one American woman.
Speaking to state-run news agency, IRNA, Ahmadinejad cited a double standard over the outcry over an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, but was suspended due to international criticism. He said despite the chiding of Iran over Ashtiani, there has been no similar protest over the scheduled execution of Teresa Lewis, 41, a Virginia woman convicted of a double-homicide.
“A woman is being executed in the United States for murder but nobody protests against it,” said Ahmadinejad, who is in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. “There are 3.7 million Internet pages about this woman. Her case is not final yet but Iran is being heavily attacked.”
It may be hard to see where the Iranian leader is coming from. After all, Iran was going to execute a woman for allegedly cheating on her husband in a reportedly lopsided case where Ashtiani may not have even understood the charges against her because of the dialect she speaks. On the other hand, Lewis was convicted of arranging the killing of her husband and stepson, a capital crime in Virginia.
However, many may agree with the point Ahmadinejad makes that Lewis is scheduled for execution despite the fact her IQ is 72, making her borderline mentally retarded by most standards. In a 2002 case, the U.S. Supreme Court found it unlawful to execute anyone whose IQ is below 70.
“We will file an official complaint to the international community against the U.S. if the sentence is administered,” Hossein Naghavi an Iranian lawmaker told the Fars news agency, another state-run news organization.
Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell has refused to commuted Lewis’ sentence and barring any intervention from the Supreme Court, she is set to be executed by lethal injection Thursday morning, making her the first woman to be put to death by Virginia since 1912.