In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many r…

Australia urges Indonesia to respect Bali bombing victims

Bashir had previously been considered ineligible for parole because of his refusal to renounce radical beliefs.
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA -- Australia's prime minister said on Tuesday he would be disappointed if radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir were released from prison early and urged Indonesia to show respect for the victims of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that the firebrand preacher inspired.
Indonesia's top security minister, Wiranto, said on Monday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo had asked him to coordinate a review of all aspects of the planned release of the 80-year-old cleric following domestic and international criticism.
Australia has been in top-level discussions with the Indonesia since last week when the decision was announced to release Bashir, the spiritual leader of bombers who attacked nightclubs on Bali island and that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would protest if Bashir were released early as pl…

Death by Fentanyl: Should the Powerful Opioid Be Used in Lethal Injections?

When it comes to executing people by lethal injection, “Fentanyl is just an obvious choice. You have unfortunately an inexhaustible supply of this drug in state custody - why can’t it be used?”
As the end drew near, Carey Dean Moore’s face turned red, and then purple. He breathed heavily, according to the witnesses who were there to see it, and coughed. Roughly 20 minutes later, he died.
In his final weeks, the two-time killer had given up efforts to seek a reprieve. He’d expressed his scant apologies and written the final words condemned men write
It was the 1,481st execution in the modern era of capital punishment, but Moore’s death was a first on more than one front. Not only was it the Cornhusker State’s first execution in more than two decades, but also it was the nation’s first ever lethal injection using fentanyl, the deadly drug at the center of the opioid crisis.
More than 28,000 Americans — none of whom were on death row — died in connection with the powerful painkiller in…

Sri Lanka: Death penalty against drug traffickers to stay - President

The programme to eradicate drug racketeering conducted during the last four years will be accelerated with a new orientation from next week.
The decision taken by the Government to impose the death penalty on drug racketeers will not be changed at any cost, President Maithripala Sirisena said.
The President announced this addressing the gathering when he launched the National Schools Drug Eradication Week at a ceremony at Mulliyawalai Vidyananda Vidyalaya, Mullaitivu yesterday. During this ceremony, the President also introduced a free Telephone Hotline (No. 1984) for people to make complaints against drug racketeering and organised crime.
President Sirisena said the government of the Philippines has promised assistance to Sri Lanka in its fight against illicit drug trafficking following a request made by him during his recent four day official visit to that country.
Accordingly, a team of specialists from Philippines would arrive in Sri Lanka shortly to provide technological advice …

Malaysia: Death penalty opponents have no humanity, says Hadi

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — In his harshest condemnation yet of the move to abolish the death penalty, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang declared that its supporters lack humanity.
In a lengthy statement today, he said Islam upheld the practice of Qisas (retaliatory) punishment for crimes, including that of murder.
“The priority to preserve human life is a living principle to which even dietary laws are rendered secondary, permitting the consumption of prohibited foods rather than death by starvation,” Hadi said.
He said that according to Islamic teachings, the death penalty meted out to criminals gives life, as it saves the lives of countless others by eliminating said criminals who could have gone on to become a disease upon society.
“Those who (hold on to) the theory of abolishing the death penalty are in the wrong, disbelieving in God and lack all humanity,” Hadi said.
He called upon Malaysians to make every effort to fight the abolition of the death penalty, encouraging them …

Philippine Senators oppose president's push to lower criminal age to 9

MANILA (Reuters) - Senators in the Philippines on Tuesday joined activists and child protection groups in condemning a lower house move to reduce the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine, calling it extreme and unjust.
The proposal has President Rodrigo Duterte's support and is being revived by his Congressional allies, having been filed on his inauguration day in 2016 along with a bid to re-introduce the death penalty - moves touting his crime-busting credentials.
The plan was approved on Monday by the lower house's justice committee, but still needs several readings before a house vote. It would then require counterpart legislation and approval of the Senate, members of which appear less supportive.
"It is anti-family, anti-poor and simply unjust. Moreover, it will promote a heartless and ruthless society that has no regard for its own people," said Antonio Trillanes, one of Duterte's biggest critics.
Risa Hontiveros said the idea went against Philippines…

Count of Paris, pretender to French throne, dies on same day his cousin Louis XVI was guillotined in 1793

PARIS (Reuters) - Henri d’Orleans, Count of Paris and pretender to the defunct French throne, died on Monday - exactly 226 years after his distant cousin Louis XVI was guillotined in Paris.
His death, aged 85, was announced on Facebook by his son Jean.
Henri was said to harbor royal ambitions, but the movement to restore France’s monarchy has progressively dwindled since the years leading up to World War Two, when it was viewed in some quarters as a credible threat to Republicanism.
Henri, the Orleanist pretender, vied for the claim with the Bourbons, based in Spain and headed by the 44-year-old Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou.
RELATED | 21 janvier 1793 : The Day Louis XVI, King of France, was guillotined
France overthrew its monarchy in the revolution of 1789, briefly restoring it after the fall of Napoleon. 
The last French king, Louis Philippe, was toppled in 1848.
In an opinion piece published in Le Figaro last October, Jean d’Orleans criticized the French constitution, calling for …

Ohio Parole Board member quits, calls agency toxic and secretive

COLUMBUS — Cleveland Democrat Shirley Smith resigned her post on the Ohio Parole Board, saying the agency is dysfunctional, secretive and toxic.
Smith, a former lawmaker who pushed through sentencing reforms, spent three years on the 12-member board but gave up the $90,000-a-year job on Dec. 31.
When she was appointed to the Parole Board in February 2015 by the Kasich administration, Smith said she quickly learned “it would be a long, bumpy ride while navigating a complex system of make-up-as-you-go policies and procedures that were not neither principled nor consistent. In my opinion and experience, the Ohio Parole Board chooses to operate as a secret society based on college roommate friendships, tenure and positions held within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and members’ desire to maintain absolute power.”
In a four-page opinion column distributed to Ohio media, Smith blamed DRC Court and Community director Cynthia Mausser for driving members off the board w…

Saudi human rights activist Ali Adubisi agitates from Berlin

Since fleeing to Germany, Ali Adubisi has been campaigning for human rights in Saudi Arabia. Now he and his organization have published a report on the death penalty in his home country.
Israa Al-Ghomgham is still facing the death penalty. The Saudi women's rights activist was arrested in December 2015. She was denied access to a lawyer and spent 32 months in prison without being brought before a court. Al-Ghomgham is accused of participating in riots in the predominantly Shiite province of al-Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia.
According to the indictment, she is charged with inciting the demonstrators as well as instigating protest songs, filming the demonstrations and posting the videos online. For these and other actions, the Saudi state prosecutor called for the death penalty at the start of her trial in August 2018. Al-Ghomgham did not appear in court on the 2nd day of her trial, 3 months later, and this has raised concerns among her supporters about her physical and mental healt…

French drugs suspect facing possible death penalty escapes Indonesian jail

An accused French drug trafficker has broken out of an Indonesian jail by sawing through bars on a second floor window and rappelling to freedom with a sarong, police said Monday (Jan 21), as they launched a manhunt to find the fugitive.
Felix Dorfin's daring escape happened Sunday evening at a police detention centre on Lombok island, where the 35-year-old was awaiting trial in a possible death penalty case.
"He escaped through the window on the 2nd floor in the detention centre and, using a sarong and curtains which were tied together, he climbed down and then escaped," West Nusa Tenggara police spokesman I Komang Suartana told AFP.
Police believe Dorfin is still on Lombok and have deployed officers to scour the island to search for him, Suartana added.
The Frenchman was arrested in September allegedly carrying a false-bottomed suitcase filled with 4kg of drugs - including cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines - at the airport on the holiday island next to Bali.
It was no…