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Trump’s Killing Spree: The Inside Story of His Race to Execute Every Prisoner He Could

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Before 2020, there had been three federal executions in 60 years. Then Trump put 13 people to death in six months IN THE FINAL moments of Brandon Bernard’s life, before he was executed by lethal injection at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Dec. 10, 2020, President Donald Trump picked up the phone to entertain a final plea for mercy on Bernard’s behalf. The call was not with Bernard’s family or his attorneys. Nor was it with representatives from the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney office, who had recommended just days earlier that Trump spare Bernard’s life.

Florida | Execution Scheduled After 32 Years on Death Row

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The State of Florida is scheduled to execute Donald Dillbeck on 23 February 2023. Now aged 60, he was sentenced to death in 1991 after only eight jurors voted for the death penalty under a law since found unconstitutional. His lawyers are seeking recognition that his neurobehavioral disorder is akin to intellectual disability and should exempt him from execution under constitutional law. They also maintain that the prosecution’s use of his prior conviction for murder to support the death penalty is undermined by new evidence that reveals more mitigating than aggravating factors than the original jury heard in this regard. 

Texas seeks to execute John Balentine for killing three teens in Amarillo

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Texas is seeking on Wednesday to execute John Lezell Balentine, who was convicted of killing three teens in an Amarillo home, as his attorneys pursued last-minute appeals raising questions about juror misconduct and racial prejudice at his trial. Balentine, a 54-year-old Black man, was sentenced to death nearly 25 years ago for shooting three male teenagers, all white, in the head while they slept in a home Balentine had previously shared with his ex-girlfriend, according to court records.

Florida Governor Pushes To Remove Safeguards in Death Penalty Cases

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At the urging of Governor Ron DeSantis, bills have been introduced in the Florida House and Senate that would allow death sentences even when the jury cannot come to a unanimous verdict on the proper penalty. The proposed legislation would also permit a presiding judge to override a jury’s recommendation of life and impose a death sentence. Death sentences would be allowed if at least eight jurors agreed, creating the lowest threshold in the nation for the imposition of a death sentence. Only Alabama currently allows death sentences when the jury is not unanimous, and it requires at least 10 jurors to agree on death.

Missouri executes Leonard Taylor

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Missouri man convicted of killing his live-in girlfriend and her 3 young children was executed Tuesday despite his claims that he was in another state when the killings occurred. Leonard (Raheem) Taylor, 58, was the 3rd Missouri inmate put to death since November at the state prison in Bonne Terre. It was the nation's 5th execution this year, following a previous execution in Missouri, 2 in Texas and 1 in Oklahoma. All were by lethal injection.

Alabama AG: ‘Pain related to difficulty’ from execution IVs not cruel, unusual punishment

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The Alabama Attorney General’s Office is asking a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit from Alabama Death Row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was set to be executed in November but didn’t die after the clock struck midnight before prison officials were able to complete his lethal injection procedure. “Allegations of pain related to difficulty achieving intravenous access do not amount to cruel and unusual punishment,” the state argued in its new court filing.

Texas | Patrick Crusius death penalty decision has left a ray of emotions

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Aug. 3, 2019, was a day marked by a tragedy in the borderland; when Patrick Crusius entered a Walmart on the east side shooting 23 people, wounding 23 more. The El Paso community, along with the relatives and friends of the victims, demanded justice on their behalf after one of the worst attacks against Latinos in recent history and an act of domestic terrorism.   In response to their pleas, a Texas grand jury indicted 21-year-old Crusius with capital murder on Sept. 12, 2019. Crusius issued a not-guilty plea during his first hearing in October at the El Paso County Courthouse that same year. 

New York | Salman Rushdie Says He’s Grateful, ‘Can’t Regret’ His Life After Stabbing

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The author, who went into hiding for a decade after Iran’s leader called for his death, spoke of his recovery after being stabbed multiple times last August. Salman Rushdie said he feels overwhelmingly grateful and eager to keep writing, saying “you can’t regret your life,” in his first interview since surviving last summer’s brutal stabbing attack. “I’m lucky. What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude,” he told The New Yorker while continuing to recover, both physically and mentally, after being stabbed more than a dozen times during a literary event in western New York.

Texas Death Row Prisoner Commits Suicide

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On January 21, 2023, Texas death row prisoner Terence Andrus hanged himself at the age of 34, a little more than 6 months after the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of his case for a second time. His lawyer, Gretchen Sween, told the Los Angeles Times that “he’d been careening toward the abyss,” since their decision. “He was broken.” In 2008, at the age of 20, Andrus killed two people during an attempted carjacking while high on PCP-laced marijuana. He was sentenced to death in 2012 by a jury that was unaware of his diagnosis of affective psychosis – a mood disorder causing hallucinations for which he was diagnosed in elementary school – parental neglect as a child, or the trauma he endured in juvenile detention. Beginning at the age of 16, he spent 18 months at an overcrowded juvenile detention center, where he was given high doses of psychotropic drugs and placed in solitary confinement, consisting of a cold and filthy cell for extended periods, either for engaging in self-mutilation,

Iran wrestler defects to avoid death penalty for supporting revolt

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Mohammad Namjoo-Motlagh: 'I will remain their voice until Iran is freed from oppression' A decorated Iranian wrestler fled to Germany to avoid a possible death sentence or being blinded by the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran for his social media posts in support of the revolt against the Iranian theocratic state. The star wrestler Mohammad Namjoo-Motlagh told the US government news outlet RFE/RL's Radio Farda in late January that "It was clear where this was going" and "I would either lose my life or they would blind me, or in the best-case scenario, I would be sent to prison."

USA | Spiritual advisers offering final comfort in execution rooms

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — For decades, Missouri executions played out in similar fashion: An inmate was strapped to a gurney in a drab room, alone except for the eyes of witnesses staring through thick, soundproof glass as unidentified executioners administered the lethal chemical from behind a cinderblock wall. But in November, convicted killer Kevin Johnson spent his final moments speaking softly with a pastor, praying, being assured of forgiveness. When Amber McLaughlin was executed in the same room weeks later, her pastor stroked her hand, providing comfort even as McLaughlin expressed that something was causing her pain.

Pakistan blocks Wikipedia, says it hurts Muslim sentiments

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s media regulator said Monday it blocked Wikipedia services in the country for hurting Muslim sentiment by not removing purportedly blasphemous content from the site. Critics denounced Islamabad’s action, saying it was a blow to digital rights.

Iran's supreme leader issues pardon for 'tens of thousands' of prisoners; 'spies', protesters held over capital charge not pardoned

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DUBAI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader has pardoned "tens of thousands" of prisoners including some arrested in recent anti-government protests, state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday, after a deadly state crackdown helped quell the nationwide unrest. However, the pardon approved by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came with conditions, according to details announced in state media reports, which said the measure would not apply to any of the numerous dual nationals held in Iran.

Pakistan | Blasphemy death row convict awaits trial with no lawyer willing to represent him

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No lawyer willing to represent Anwar Kenneth held by police since June 2001 After the recusal of 5 state lawyers, the Supreme Court has asked the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) to provide a counsel to represent a convict, who is on death row for the last 2 decades in a blasphemy case. The convict, Anwar Kenneth, a former official of the fisheries department, was accused of distributing a pamphlet containing blasphemous material. It has been reported that he was arrested by Lahore’s Gawalmandi police on June 15, 2001, while distributing a pamphlet.

Pakistan gets 340 suggestions to improve human rights situation

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Pakistan has received 340 recommendations from UN member states on its 4th periodic report on the human rights situation in the country, and the government will examine these recommendations and report back to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in its forthcoming meeting. A draft report prepared on Wednesday by the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, available with Dawn, stated: “All conclusions and/or recommendations contained in the present report reflect the position of the submitting state(s) and/or the state under review. They should not be construed as endorsed by the Working Group as a whole.”

Iran | Execution of 21 Prisoners in 9 Days, at Least 70 Executions in January

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On Wednesday, February 1, the regime executed Mehdi Rasi in Gohardasht prison, on Tuesday, January 31, executed Ali Allahverdi and Farhang Zakai in Adel Abad prison of Shiraz, and Hassan Javanrudian in Karaj prison and another in Tabriz prison. On Monday, January 30, 4 Baluch prisoners named Rasul Safarzaei, Abidullah Safarzaei, Habib Sarani and Behzadi were hanged in Kerman prison and a prisoner named Ismail Kachlanlu in Mako prison. On Thursday, January 26, 2 brothers named Reza and Omid Shokri along with another prisoner were hanged in Karaj Central Prison. 

Singapore | A man can be sentenced to death by a testimony of another, but CPIB finds it hard to prosecute with mountain of evidence and self-confession?

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On 7 July last year, 48-year-old Norasharee bin Gous was executed in Changi Prison after being accused by a rival gang member, Mohamad Yazid bin Md Yusof of instructing him to traffic drugs in 2013. Yazid was arrested along with another Malaysian by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on 24 October 2013, having found in possession of bundles which contained not less than 120.90g of diamorphine. While in detention, Yazid accused Norasharee of having instructed him to collect the drugs from a Malaysian courier the following day after having met on 23 October 2013 at VivoCity.

Missouri has a history of death penalty injustice. Stop Leonard Taylor’s execution | Opinion

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Leonard “Raheem” Taylor was convicted for the 2004 murders of Angela Rowe and her three children in Jennings, Missouri. Throughout the trial and appeals, he has maintained his innocence . Court documents show that the murders occurred after Leonard left Angela’s home, where he last saw her and her children alive, and headed to the airport to visit his daughter in California.  Then there is the false statement made by his brother, who says police coerced him, threatened him and his mother, beat him and told him to tell them Leonard had confessed to the crime — a statement that he recanted immediately and repeatedly since then. 

Iran | Executions in Karaj, Shiraz

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); February 1, 2023: An unnamed man who was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder, was executed in Rajai Shahr Prison. According to Rokna, at least one man was executed in Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison on February 1.  The unnamed man was sentenced to three qisas sentences for the murder of three people in an orchard in Varamin in 2020.

Iran | Executions in Maku, Karaj

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 31, 2023: Esmail Kachalanlu, a man sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder, was executed in Maku Prison, West Azerbaijan province. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a man was executed in Maku Prison on January 30. His identity has been established as Esmail Kachalanlu from Urmia who was sentenced to qisas for murder. An informed source told Iran Human Rights: “Esmail Kachalanlu was arrested for murder charges around three years ago and sentenced to death.”

Iran | Four Men Including Brothers Executed for Drug Charges in Kerman

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 31, 2023: Four men including two brothers sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Kerman Central Prison.  According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, four men were executed in Kerman Central Prison on January 30.  Their identities have been established as Rasoul Safarzayi and Abidollah Safarzayi, Habibollah Sarani and Mr Behzadi (first name unknown).  They were all sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court.

Texas Executes Wesley Ruiz

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Wesley Ruiz, 43, who shot and killed Dallas police officer Mark Nix in 2007, has been executed in Texas as a battle continues to rage in the state about the ability to use out of date drugs for lethal injections Ruiz, 43, was sentenced to death nearly 15 years ago for the 2007 shooting of Dallas police Senior Cpl. Mark Nix following a high-speed car chase.  The chase began while police were searching for a murder suspect, according to court documents. Ruiz’s car eventually slid off the side of the road, and Nix rushed over and began smashing the passenger side window with his police baton. Ruiz fatally shot him in the chest through the back passenger window, court filings state.  "I would like to apologize to Mark and the Nix family. I hope this brings you closure. I want to say to all my family and friends around the world thank you for supporting me. To my kids, stand tall and continue to make me proud, don’t worry about me I’m going to be OK," Ruiz said in his final statem

Saudi Arabia and the death penalty: Everything you need to know about the rise in executions under Mohammed bin Salman

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The rate of executions in Saudi Arabia has almost doubled since King Salman and his son Mohammed bin Salman came to power in 2015, as revealed in a new report by Reprieve and ESOHR . Read on to find out how the death penalty is used in Saudi Arabia and how it has drastically increased under Mohammed bin Salman. Does Saudi Arabia have the death penalty? Saudi Arabia is known to be one of the world’s most deadly executioners. Between 2010-2021, at least 1,243 people were executed. In 2022, at least 147 people were executed.

Texas | Man who fatally shot Dallas officer in 2007 faces execution

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A man convicted of fatally shooting a Dallas police officer nearly 16 years ago is facing execution HOUSTON (AP) — A man convicted of fatally shooting a Dallas police officer nearly 16 years ago faces execution on Wednesday. Wesley Ruiz, 43, is set to receive a lethal injection for the March 2007 killing of Dallas Police Senior Corporal Mark Nix. Ruiz had led officers on a high-speed chase after being spotted driving a car that matched the description of one used by a murder suspect. Authorities said Nix tried to break the vehicle’s passenger window after the chase ended and that Ruiz fired one shot. The bullet hit Nix’s badge, splintered it and sent fragments that severed an artery in his neck. Nix later died in a hospital.

Saudi death penalty use has almost doubled under rule of Mohammed bin Salman: Report

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An average of 129 executions have been carried out annually since 2015. LONDON -- The use of the death penalty under the rule of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman, has almost doubled annually since they rose to power, according to a new report seen by ABC News.

Joe Biden Could Be About To Break Key Election Promise

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President Joe Biden campaigned on a pledge to work toward abolishing the death penalty, but advocates say he is far from making good on that promise. While running for president, Biden's campaign website said he would "work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government's example." Those convicted of the most egregious crimes "should instead serve life sentences without probation or parole," it added.