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USA | Biden frustrates death penalty opponents with Supreme Court request

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Opponents of capital punishment are expressing frustration with the Biden administration’s request this week that the Supreme Court reinstate the death penalty against Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Critics see the Department of Justice (DOJ) move as inconsistent with President Biden’s calls on the campaign trail to eliminate capital punishment. Outright repeal of the federal death penalty would require legislation, which is unlikely to clear the current Congress given the deep partisan divide. But advocates say Biden could take steps on his own to curtail executions carried out by the federal government and are renewing calls for him to do just that. “This move from the DOJ contravenes the president’s vow to work with Congress to abolish the federal death penalty,” said Kristina Roth, a senior advocate in Amnesty International USA’s criminal justice program. “Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision in this case, President Biden can, and should, commute all federal de

Yemen | Houthi Militants Publicly Execute 3 For Child Rape And Murder

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It was Sanaa's first public execution since August 2018, when the rebels shot three men and hung their bodies from a crane for raping and killing a child. SANA’A: Hundreds of people gathered in Yemen’s militant-held capital to watch the execution of three men — two convicted of child rape and murder, and one of killing his daughters. It was Sana’a’s first public execution since August 2018, when the Houthi militia's security forces shot three men and hung their bodies from a crane for raping and killing a child. On Wednesday, the three convicts in blue prison uniforms were escorted to the central Tahrir (Liberation) Square where an executioner in green army fatigues and black gloves laid each face down on a red sheet before shooting them in the back. The Iran-backed militants have made much of their crime-fighting efforts in areas under the control, which include most of the north of country. Those executed on Wednesday had been convicted of particularly heinous crimes. Ali Abd

Iran | Juvenile offender sews lips together to protest authorities’ failure to handle his case

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Arman Farahmand, a teenager accused of murder, went on a hunger strike and sewed his lips to protest the authorities’ failure to handle his case. A relative of Arman Farahmand, told Kurdpa website that the 17-year-old has been on a hunger strike since Saturday, June 19, in Sanandaj Correctional Center. Arman Farahmand who was only 16 when he committed his alleged crime was arrested along with eight individuals last year following a group fight during which a man was killed. All of the defendants in the case have been acquitted in recent months, but Arman Farahmand remains in custody. Iran is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans executing offenders who were children at the time of their offense. Iran’s penal code, as amended in 2013, prohibits executing child offenders for certain categories of crimes, including drug-related offenses.  For other serious crimes, article 91 of the amended penal code allows judges to use their discretion and not issue a de

Millionaire couple found dead on Koh Tao, Thailand’s notorious Death Island

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This island paradise is notorious for the unexplained deaths of people who visit there. And it’s just claimed another two victims. This idyllic island in Thailand has long been popular with tourists for its pristine beaches, kaleidoscopic coral reefs and turquoise waters. In recent years, however, the unexplained deaths and disappearances of many of those tourists have earned it a reputation as a death trap. And it’s just claimed another two victims. A millionaire hotel tycoon and his wife have been found dead in a luxury resort on Koh Tao, colloquially known as Death Island. Their bodies were found floating in the resort’s pool last Friday, just hours after they checked in. Disturbingly, police on the island have said CCTV cameras at luxury Jamahkiri Resort and Spa “weren’t working” on the day the couple died, fuelling mystery around what happened to the wealthy pair. Tragedy just hours after arrival The couple were Thai-Indian nationals Rakeshwar Sachathamakul, 59, and his wife Ansho

Execution on rise in Bangladesh for decades: 101 people executed since 1991

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Execution of people has been increasing for decades in Bangladesh, revealed a joint study report released on Thursday. 1/3 of the interviewees in the study alleged that prisoners were tortured in custody, according to the study report released in a webinar. Dhaka University law department in collaboration with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and The Death Penalty Project conducted the study in 2019-20 to investigate socio-economic characteristics and experiences of death row prisoners in Bangladesh. The study revealed that at least 101 people had been executed since 1991 and the number of executions had increased significantly since the start of this century. It stated that 11 executions took place between 1991 and 2000 compared with that of 57 between 2001 and 2010 and at least 33 since 2011. About 95 % of the prisoners were sentenced for homicide and 5 % were sentenced on charges of terrorism, the study revealed. In the study, most respondents said that they were not sati

Pakistan | Two clerics sentenced to death for kidnapping, murdering student

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An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Pakistan on 14 June 2021 sentenced two clerics to death after finding them guilty of kidnapping a 15-year-old student for ransom and later murdering him. According to the prosecution, Qari Abdul Majeed and Qari Ahsan Ali had kidnapped Abdul Moiz on June 26, 2016, just after his parents allowed him to sit in Aitkaaf at the Ghousia Qadriya Masjid in Khudadad Colony. The boy was kept hostage for 4 days in a house in Usmania Colony and after the payment of Rs400,000 in ransom by his family, he was killed by the accused who dismembered his body into parts, the prosecution added. The ATC-XX judge ordered that the convicts be hanged by neck till their death. The judge also ordered the convicts to pay a fine of Rs1 million to the family of the victim or else they would spend 5 years more in prison. Moiz’s father Mohammad Arif had lodged a complaint with the Brigade police station stating that his son had brought an application form for Aitkaaf and after taking

‘Political Cowardice’ Activists Berate Biden’s Lack Of Action On Eliminating The Death Penalty

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Activists expected President Joe Biden to take immediate action against the death penalty as the first sitting president to oppose capital punishment, but he has been silent on the issue, the Associated Press reported. Biden previously said he wanted to see the death penalty eliminated, in stark contrast to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump who executed 13 inmates from July 2020 to January 2021 before he left office. The executions began after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Trump administration’s move to restart executions of inmates on death row. Activists and lawmakers have pressured Biden to take a stance against capital punishment for the nearly 50 federal inmates currently sitting on death row, according to the Associated Press. But Biden has not taken a stance on new legislation to abolish the federal death penalty or reversed Trump policies that resumed federal executions, since becoming president. “Biden’s lack of action is unconscionable,” said Ashl

USA | The Rosenbergs were executed for spying in 1953. Can their sons reveal the truth?

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Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for being Soviet spies, but their sons have spent decades trying to clear their mother’s name. Are they close to a breakthrough? “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs…… ” So goes the opening sentence of Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel The Bell Jar , referring to the Jewish American couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and sent to the electric chair exactly 68 years ago today. Their execution casts a morbid shadow over Plath’s book, just as it did over the United States, and it is seen by many as the nadir of America’s engagement with the cold war. The Rosenbergs are still the only Americans ever put to death in peacetime for espionage, and Ethel is the only American woman killed by the US government for a crime other than murder. During their trial, Ethel in particular was vilified for prioritising communism over her children, and the prosecutio

California | Scott Peterson Murder Case: District Attorney Wants Him off Death Row

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Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager said that their position on Scott Peterson's murder case is that he is not eligible to be on death row and is only right to set the formal sentencing. According to a Modesto Bee report, Fladager made the statement during a hearing for Peterson in San Mateo Superior Court on Friday, June 18. Prosecutors also said that Scott Peterson should be sentenced so that the family of his wife, Laci Peterson, could make victim impact statements, and the defendant could be taken off death row. Last year, the California Supreme Court had overturned Peterson's death sentence in the 2002 murders of his wife Laci and their unborn son Conner. Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris initially said that the office would retry the penalty phase. However, Fladager filed a notice in late May saying that she will no longer be pursuing the death penalty. Scott Peterson would be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole based on his 2004 m

Nevada | Lawyers for quadruple murderer challenge lethal injection cocktail

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Lawyers for Zane Floyd, scheduled to die in fewer than 40 days for a massacre at a Las Vegas grocery store, say an untested combination of drugs planned for his lethal injection would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.  “Zane Floyd is in a unique position,” federal public defenders wrote in a court brief filed Friday, reiterating a request to stay the execution. “The State seeks to execute him using a novel execution protocol. Only 1 of the 6 proposed drugs and alternates has an established (though contentious) history of use in executions; the others have been used rarely, accidentally, or not at all.” Ketamine, 1 of the drugs proposed by the Nevada Department of Corrections in a 4-drug cocktail made public last week, has never been used in an American execution, according to the lawyers. The plan calls for an injection of painkillers fentanyl or alfentanil, “depending on availability;” ketamine, an anesthetic; cisatracurium, a paralytic; and heart-stopping potassium chloride or