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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

South Korea moving to abolish death penalty

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Heated debate is expected after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said it will recommend President Moon Jae-in declare a moratorium on the death penalty in December. 
A senior official at the oversight agency said last week that joint, working-level discussions with the Ministry of Justice will soon be under way to help President Moon to deliver the declaration Dec. 10, on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Day. 
A moratorium refers to any suspension of activity. Countries that pass a moratorium on judicial executions publicly make it clear that they will not put a person to death in a government-sanctioned punishment. 
The move, the official said, is part of efforts to facilitate the agency's initiative to enhance human rights, in line with policy goals presented during a President-chaired debriefing last December. 
The President at the time asked the agency recommend opinions in line with international standards and criteria on human rights i…

Pakistan: Petition in High Court seeks public execution of Zainab's murderer

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The father of Zainab Amin, a 6-year-old child whose rape and murder by Imran Ali in January 2018 had sparked national outrage, has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) demanding that his daughter's killer be hanged publicly.
The petition states that a public execution will "give [a] clear message of deterrence to everybody" and that "the murderer of Zainab should be given exemplary punishment so as to avoid any such tragedy in the future."
The petition further says that according to Article 22 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the government can carry out public executions if it is likely to create a deterrent effect.
Zainab, whose body was recovered from a trash heap in Kasur, had been kidnapped, raped and killed earlier this year. 
The incident had spawned the #JusticeForZainab campaign online and also resulted in an increased debate on and media reporting of child abuse cases.
On February 17, the accused Imran was found guilty by an Anti-Terrorism…

Thailand: Resuming Death Penalty a Major Setback

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Government Executes a Prisoner After 9-Year Moratorium
The Thai government should halt further executions and publicly resume its de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said today. Thai authorities executed a 26-year-old man by lethal injection on June 18, 2018, the country's 1st execution since August 2009.
"Thailand's resumed use of the death penalty marks a major setback for human rights," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "The Thai government's many pledges about moving toward abolishing the death penalty clearly meant nothing."
The Corrections Department stated that the execution of Theerasak Longji, who was found guilty of aggravated murder 6 years ago, reflected Thailand's standpoint that "focuses on protecting society, rather than the rights and freedoms of wrongdoers," and sends a warning message that serious crimes will be severely punished. The decision reverses a de facto moratorium on executions …

Study: Mental illness exemption to death penalty would save Tennessee more than $1 million a year

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Banning the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness would save the state of Tennessee an estimated $1.4 to $1.9 million a year, a new ABA study says.
The study was released by the ABA's Death Penalty Due Process Review Project, which advocates for a severe mental illness exemption in any jurisdiction that uses the death penalty. To analyze the cost savings associated with such an exemption, the study focused on Tennessee.
"A severe mental illness exclusion could result in cost savings [because] a subset of individuals who currently could face expensive capital prosecutions and decades of appeals would become ineligible," the report says. "[T]heir trials and appeals would be significantly truncated, while still resulting in guilty verdicts."
The study sampled Shelby County, Tennessee's death row population to determine what percentage of those people had severe mental illness. Severe mental illness was defined as a documented diagnosis of sc…

Ohio Parole Board Recommends No Halt to Death Sentence for Raymond Tibbetts

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Despite reservations from a former juror in the case, the Ohio Parole Board announced today that it believes the death penalty is still appropriate for Raymond Tibbetts.
After a special clemency hearing this month, the State of Ohio Adult Parole Authority today released its recommendation that Ohio Gov. John Kasich not halt the execution of Raymond Tibbetts, a Cincinnati man convicted in 1998 of 2 brutal murders. The 9-member parole board arrived at that decision 8-1. 
Earlier this year, Kasich called for the special clemency hearing after 1 of Tibbetts' jurors said he had not been given enough information about Tibbetts' background before voting for the death penalty 2 decades ago. 
Tibbetts was convicted of stabbing to death 67-year-old Fred Hicks and beating his 42-year-old caretaker Judith Crawford to death with a baseball bat in Hicks' Cincinnati home in 1997. Tibbetts had married Crawford a few weeks prior. Authorities found 3 knives left in Hicks. The gris…

Iran to Execute Kurdish Man, After Tricking His Sick Father Into Maligning Him

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The brother of an Iranian Kurdish man on death row in Iran for belonging to a Kurdish nationalist group said yesterday that his brother had just hours to live.
Amjad Hossein Panahi, who lives in Germany, said that his brother Ramin had been moved to death row in a prison in Sanandaj and had confided in his defence lawyer Hossein Ahmadiniaz on Thursday that he expected to be executed later that day. 
Ahmadiniaz then gave the sad news to Ramin's family.
Amjad Panahi said that prison authorities had already told family members that they intended to execute Ramin ahead before the 1st anniversary of his arrest (June 23).
Pressuring Alzheimer's sufferers
Amjad Panahi posted a video on Twitter yesterday, showing his parents expressing despair about Ramin's fate, in which his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, explains that the Iranian authorities recently kidnapped him and pressured him into making critical comments about Ramin on film.
The father said: "I…

Indonesia: Death sentence for IS cleric not a solution to tackling terrorism

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Responding to the sentencing to death of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) leader Aman Abdurrahman for terrorism-related offences in the country, Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
"Lethal attacks on people going about their daily lives are horrifying and Indonesia has every right to pursue perpetrators and prosecute them. At the same time, it has been proven time and again that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect than a term of imprisonment. This is a fact that also applies to terror-related crimes.
"The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It's a tool that governments often resort to in times of real or perceived national crisis, to demonstrate their "strength" in dealing with threats.
"The criminal justice system in Indonesia remains critically flawed. Trials for defendants facing charges on crimes such as drugs, murder, terrorism …

Thailand: Death Penalty is Ugly Vengeance, Not Justice

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The sudden execution of a death row convict on Monday after a 9-year hiatus has ignited a storm of debate over capital punishment.
A protest by members of Amnesty International on Tuesday was followed by a very vocal support for death penalty. Abolitionists were caught by surprise at the level of passionate support for executing criminals.
They have discovered that many Thais, despite calling its country a land of Buddhism, is fact more like a land of Hammurabi where an eye for an eye is the mode of punishment.
Apparently, these people do not see anything wrong with supporting killing in the name of justice. Some even feel justified calling for a death penalty opponent to be sexually assaulted.
They asked why these abolitionists do not hold vigils for victims of heinous crimes and told them to take these convicts to live at their homes if they are so against capital punishment. One even said execution would make to-be criminals think twice and even if someone is wrongly convicted and…

Accused N.Y. attacker Sayfullo Saipov says U.S. court's judgement 'not important'

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Uzbek national accused of killing eight people by driving a speeding truck along a New York City bike path last October spoke of a “war” led by Islamic State at a pre-trial hearing on Friday and dismissed the court’s judgement as not important.
The statement by Sayfullo Saipov, a legal permanent resident of the United States, came at the end of a hearing at which U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick set an Oct. 7, 2019, trial date in the case.
“The judgements that are made here are not important for me,” Saipov, 30, said through an interpreter. “They are not Allah’s judgements.”
Saipov continued speaking even after Broderick interrupted to remind him that anything he said could be used against him.
“The Islamic State, in order to impose sharia (Islamic law) on Earth, is leading a war,” Saipov said. He had previously told law enforcement that he was inspired by the militant group.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not yet decided whether to seek the deat…