We need to remember that Iran does not have a monopoly on barbarism.
In an isolated prison cell, a woman sits, waiting to be executed. The method is one laid down by tradition. Reports say it can be excruciatingly painful and terrifying. There are doubts as to whether she received a fair trial, and most people regard the system under which she was convicted as hopelessly compromised. She is unlikely to receive mercy because the person who could grant it believes deeply that such punishments are ordained by God. Barred from sustained contact with the outside world, she waits, and waits.
Many readers might assume that I'm describing the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian facing death by stoning for alleged crimes associated with adultery. In fact, the woman in question is Teresa Lewis, now in a Virginia prison in the United States and scheduled to die by lethal injection on September 23.
Rundle, is wrong on a number of counts, of course.
The means of execution in the various U.S. states is specified quite clearly and is not merely a matter of tradition as is stoning or using a crane to lift the condemned into the air to slowly strangle.
Lewis did not receive a trial as such, she lodged a guilty plea and was sentenced by a judge. On the other hand, the details of the charges against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani are not known for certain and her trial, as is often the case in Iran, was held behind closed doors.
Lethal injection is not known, as Rundle later states unequivocally, to produce "excruciating, but silent, pain". Stoning, however, is designed to be excruciating painful with the stones specially selected to be small enough to require multiple strikes before inducing unconsciousness and then death.
The U.S. legal system is far from perfect but is as transparent and equitable as any.
Rundle provides no evidence that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell believs that capital punishment is "ordained by God."
Those wanting to read a more balanced account of Teresa Lewis's crimes and scheduled execution should read this Time summary.