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Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

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Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

USA | They Are Terminally Ill. States Want To Execute Them Anyway.

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“I don’t understand trying to kill somebody who is already dying,” says the sister of Idaho death-row prisoner Gerald Pizzuto. Gerald Pizzuto is near death, but it’s unclear whether the cancer or the state of Idaho will get to him first. For more than a year, the 65-year-old has been in hospice care on Idaho’s death row, suffering from advanced bladder tumors, along with Type 2 diabetes, and a variety of heart and lung diseases.  According to his defense team, he’s been prescribed 42 different drugs in the last year, and his medical records say he has “begun experiencing memory loss and mild disorientation associated with the death process.” But on Thursday, the Idaho attorney general’s office confirmed the state’s plan to execute him on June 2, for the 1985 murders of two gold prospectors in the mountains north of Boise. If it goes through as planned, this will be Idaho’s first execution in nine years. Given the likelihood that Pizzuto will soon die of natural causes, his case may sti

Belarus | Supreme Court dismisses appeal by death-row inmate Viktar Skrundzik

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Why the death penalty should be abolished: Supreme Court confirms death sentence for Viktar Skrundzik The Judicial Chamber on Criminal Case of the Supreme Court of Belarus has dismissed an appeal filed by death row prisoner Viktar Skrundzik.  The convict will be executed, unless pardoned by Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Skrundzik was initially sentenced to death on March 6, 2020, after the Minsk Regional Court found him and three other men from the city of Sluck guilty of killing two elderly men and attempting to murder an 85-year-old woman. Three defendants in the trial, Valiantsin Bushnin, Siarhei Zakharchanka and Vital Miatsezh, were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. The verdict was appealed to the Supreme Court, which revoked the death sentence on June 30, 2020. The case was returned for a re-trial at the Minsk Regional Court.  On January 15, 2021, Skrundzik was again sentenced to death. Source:  dp.spring96.org, Staff, May 6, 2021 đźš© | Report an error, an omission, a typo; sugg

USA | Kentucky Prosecutors Drop Death Penalty in Cases That Raised Constitutionality of Capital Punishment for Offenders Aged 18 – 21

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Kentucky prosecutors have dropped capital charges against 2 defendants who had challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty for crimes committed by offenders younger than 21 years old.  On April 21, 2021, prosecutors announced that they will no longer seek the death penalty against Efrain Diaz, Jr. and Justin Delone Smith, 2 of the 3 adolescents accused of killing University of Kentucky student Jonathan Krueger in 2015. A third co-defendant, Roman Gonzalez, is not eligible for the death penalty because he was under 18 at the time of the crime. Diaz and Smith were 20 and 18, respectively, at the time of the crime. When Fayette County prosecutors indicated they would seek the death penalty, the defendants’ lawyers sought to bar its use against them because of their age.  In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Thompson v. Oklahoma that imposing the death penalty on offenders who were younger than age 16 at the time of the offense constituted cruel and unusual punishment. 16 ye

16 women executed in 2020 in the Middle East and North Africa: Amnesty International

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The human rights organization also added that Iran has topped the list as it had executed 9 women last year only. Tehran was accountable for 56% of all recorded executions in the MENA region. Not only Iran, but also Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman were included in Amnesty’s report. Egypt performed 4 executions on women; Saudi Arabia came in after Egypt with 2 death penalties, while Oman reported 1 case.  Four MENA regions have topped the world in number of executions accounting for both genders ‘males and females’; Iran had executed over 246 people, Egypt more than 107, Iraq’s total death penalties hit over 45 while Saudi Arabia’s number of executions hit 27. A human rights activist stated that Iran, who leads the region in the number of executions, is believed to have handed 4300 death penalties during Rouhani’s 7-year tenure; 115 cases of which were women. Iran is a well known country for cracking down on human rights and political activists; Especially after extending the detention of

USA | South Carolina House votes to add firing squad to execution methods; would become fourth state to use shooting

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina House voted Wednesday to add a firing squad to the state’s execution methods amid a lack of lethal-injection drugs – a measure meant to jump-start executions in a state that once had one of the busiest death chambers in the nation. The bill, approved by a 66-43 vote, will require condemned inmates to choose either being shot or electrocuted if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. The state is one of only nine to still use the electric chair and will become only the fourth to allow a firing squad. South Carolina last executed a death row inmate 10 years ago Thursday. The Senate already had approved the bill in March, by a vote of 32-11. The House only made minor technical changes to that version, meaning that after a routine final vote in the House and a signoff by the Senate, it will go to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it. There are several prisoners in line to be executed. Corrections officials said three of South Car

The Council of Europe participated in the International Conference on Death Penalty

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As part of Portugal's presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held an online International Conference on the Death Penalty on 4 May. Christos GIAKOUMOPOULOS, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law addressed the conference, where he recalled the Organisation's commitment to abolition worldwide, the way it achieved it in its 47 member States, and how it supports other countries on their path to abolition.  The conference was an opportunity to emphasise that abolition of the death penalty is not an end in itself, it must be accompanied by reforms to move from punitive justice to restorative justice. The two-decade support which the Council of Europe provided to Belarus towards abolition of the death penalty was also presented by Tatiana Termacic, Head of the Coordination and International Cooperation Division. The event aimed to ensure that this subject ma

Texas | Trial Court Recommends New Trial for Death-Row Prisoner Whose Prosecutor Secretly Also Served as the Court’s Law Clerk

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Finding “brazen misconduct” by a prosecutor who withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense and then secretly served as the trial judge’s law clerk in the case, a Midland County, Texas judge has recommended that death-row prisoner Clinton Young be granted a new trial. In a 30-page factfinding order issued on April 26, 2021, Senior Judge Sid Harle excoriated former assistant district attorney Ralph Petty and the Midland County District Attorney’s office for “shocking prosecutorial misconduct that destroyed any semblance of a fair trial” in Young’s case. That conduct, which Harle said was known to at least 2 senior members of the District Attorney’s office, included serving as part of the prosecution team that tried Young for murder and defended his conviction and death sentence on appeal while simultaneously acting as judicial clerk and legal adviser for the judge who was presiding over the trial and subsequent appeals in the trial court. Harle said that Petty violated Young’s due pr

Italy | American Duo Gets Life in Italian Prison for Killing Cop While on Summer Vacation

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ROME—Two Americans have been sentenced to life in an Italian prison after a teenage vacation in Rome ended in a brutal fight that left a local police officer dead. Finnegan Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, from California, got themselves into trouble after trying to buy cocaine during their vacation in the summer of 2019. After a botched drug deal, they killed Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35. The men were found guilty of homicide, assault, resisting a public official, and extortion for stealing a backpack from a drug pusher and demanding money or drugs in exchange. Elder was separately found guilty of carrying a military grade knife, which is a prohibited weapon in Italy. Two female judges led six jury members to a verdict after 10 hours. Elder was on holiday in Rome and Natale-Hjorth visiting his grandparents at the Roman seaside when the two former classmates decided to meet up for a night of partying in Rome on July 26, 2019. Natale-Hjorth called a person he kn

Executions in Iran: From Arrest to Proof of Guilt

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); May 4, 2021: IHR's Annual Report of the Death Penalty in Iran sets out the procedures in the issuance of death sentences by Iran’s judicial system. ➤ Read the full report (pdf) Access to lawyer Article 35 of the Iranian Constitution grants access to lawyers. The Criminal Procedure Code drafted in 2013 and the 2015 amendments address, among others, a suspect’s right to access a lawyer in the pre-trial phase.[1] Article 48 of the Criminal Procedure Code states: “When a suspect is arrested, he or she can request the presence of a lawyer. The lawyer, observing the secret nature of the investigation and the negotiations between the parties, should meet with the suspect. At the end of the meeting, which should not last more than one hour, the lawyer may submit his or her written notes to be included in the case file.” However, a note added in the final draft places limitations on the suspect’s rights to choose a lawyer. The amended note says: “In cases of crimes

DNA found from male other than inmate executed in 2017 for 1993 Arkansas killing

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DNA testing from a 1993 killing in Arkansas has revealed genetic material from a male other than the inmate executed for the murder four years ago, two groups said Friday. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Innocence Project released summaries of the testing of evidence from the 1993 murder of Debra Reese.  Ledell Lee, who was convicted of her murder, was one of four inmates executed by Arkansas in 2017. The city of Jacksonville last year agreed to allow new tests on fingerprints and DNA evidence after the groups had sued. The groups said the testing revealed DNA material from an unknown male other than Lee on the wooden club used to kill Reese and a bloody shirt that was wrapped around it.  The groups said the DNA profile did not match any in a national database. The groups also said that five fingerprints that had been discovered at the crime scene in 1993 were run in a national database but remain unidentified. “While the results obtained twenty-nine years after the evidence