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USA | The Dreadful Failure of Lethal Injection

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Editor’s Note: This column is the product of a research collaboration with five Amherst College students, Mattea Denny, Nicolas Graber-Mitchell, Greene Ko, Rose Mroczka, and Lauren Pelosi. America’s death penalty continues to fall out of favor, a well-known fact. When the year started, eight executions were scheduled for February and March in five different states. But all of them are now on hold, and two of the three executions that were set for April already have been halted. While advocacy for the end of the death penalty has played some role, it is the decomposition of the lethal injection paradigm that has truly driven down execution numbers. We have now seen a decade of chaos and experimentation as death penalty jurisdictions tried to find reliable sources of drugs to carry out executions. States rolled out new drugs, but things did not go smoothly. The number of mishaps associated with lethal injection increased substantially. From 2010-2020, an already problematic method of ex

Egypt sentences senior Islamist leader to life in prison

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CAIRO (AP) — A senior leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group was convicted on terror charges and sentenced Thursday to life in prison, the country's state-owned news agency reported. According to the Middle East News Agency, a Cairo court found Mahmoud Ezzat, the acting supreme guide of the country's oldest Islamist organization, guilty of terror acts that followed the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. Last summer, 76-year-old Ezzat was arrested after police found him hiding in an apartment on the outskirts of Cairo.  According to authorities at the time, a search of the apartment uncovered computers and mobile phones with encrypted software that allowed Ezzat to communicate with group members in Egypt and abroad.  Documents with “destructive plans” were also found, police said. Ezzat had been at large since the summer of 2013, after the military removed Morsi, who hailed from Brotherhood ranks.  Mors

Saudi Arabia executes 3 soldiers for 'high treason'

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia executed three soldiers Saturday it accused of committing “high treason,” without elaborating on which enemy the kingdom believed the men aided. The state-run Saudi Press Agency identified the men as soldiers working in the Defense Ministry. It did not elaborate on how the men aided the kingdom's enemies.  Saudi Arabia is fighting Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.  The kingdom also views Iran as a regional archrival. The kingdom said the three men were convicted in court and a later royal order served as a death warrant. Saudi Arabia carried out the world's third most executions in 2019, according to figures from Amnesty International.  The kingdom followed China and Iran, respectively.  In 2019, the kingdom put to death 184 people. Source:  The Associated Press, Staff, April 10, 2021 🚩 | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a r

Myanmar tribunal sentences 19 to death for violence toward military

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Defendants accused of killing one, injuring another tried under martial law BANGKOK -- A military tribunal in Myanmar has sentenced 19 people to death for killing a member of the military and wounding another, state television reported Friday night, in what is believed to be the junta's first use of the death penalty since declaring martial law last month. The defendants are accused of attacking the two personnel and others with knives and clubs in Yangon's North Okkalapa township during the Armed Forces Day holiday on March 27.  They reportedly took a motorcycle and a gun from the assailed personnel. The sentence was handed down Thursday, according to state media.  Of the 19 people tried, 17 remain at large and are on a wanted list. In areas of Yangon that are under martial law, including North Okkalapa, serious crimes are brought before military tribunals.  Appealing to a higher court is not an option, but the commander-in-chief -- Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing -- can commute o

Taiwan's 'transitional justice' president pressed to acknowledge death row inmate tortured into confession

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President Tsai's silence is deafening, say allies of Taiwan's longest-serving death row inmate 1 year after petitioning for pardon Human rights advocates on Wednesday (April 7) demanded an explanation from President Tsai Ing-wen for her refusal to comment on a petition to pardon Taiwan's longest-serving death row inmate, Chiou Ho-shun, who was tortured into confessing to murder 33 years ago. A brief march terminating outside the Presidential Office Building at 2 p.m. marked the anniversary of the petition, which was signed by 327 people from a variety of backgrounds, including members of 60 NGOs active in the country. To date, over 100,000 signatures worldwide have been collected. Those present Wednesday included representatives of Amnesty International, the Judicial Reform Foundation, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, and the Taiwan Innocence Project. Demonstrators also held signs publicizing an exhibition presenting the

India | Man gets death penalty for killing pregnant wife

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Mahila Sessions Court Judge G. Prathibha Devi awarded the death penalty to Bathula Nambiar alias Sujith, who killed his wife, Sailaja (29) by setting her ablaze. The incident occurred in Krishnalanka in June, 2019.  Sailaja, a school teacher, was 6 months pregnant. According to the police, Sujith, native of Jonnapadu in Gudivada mandal in Krishna district, married Sailaja of Koduru mandal in December 2018.  The couple was staying at Fakirugudem. Sujith was working as lecturer in a college in Gudivada. The accused started harassing his wife for additional dowry.  On June 15, 2019, Sujith doused her with petrol and set her ablaze when she was asleep. Neighbours who rushed to the spot, shifted the pregnant woman to hospital, where she said that her husband was harassing for dowry and set her ablaze.  She died after some time. Following a complaint lodged by Sailaja’s father, the Krishnalanka police arrested the accused.  The judge after examining 18 witnesses in the case awarded capital p

USA | Death penalty cases in Arizona cost $3 to $4 million per inmate, expert says

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Just this week, it was announced death row inmate Frank Jarvis Atwood had exhausted his appeals. The Arizona attorney general is now seeking an execution warrant. And also just a few days ago, it was announced that Christopher Clements accused of killing two young Tucson girls will not be facing the death penalty. Two cases, 30 years apart. And there are similarities. Frank Jarvis Atwood was convicted of killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in 1984. Christopher Clements accused of killing 6-year-old Isabel Celis in 2012 and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez two years later. Clements was indicted on both murders in 2018 and has yet to go to trial. After sitting on death row for more than 30 years, 64-year-old Atwood will be executed according to Arizona state law. "Death penalty cases are extremely expensive," said retired prosecutor Rick Unklesbay. Unklesbay who has 40 years experience just recently retired from the Pima County Attorney's Office. He tried 2

USA | Nevada Legislature committee votes to abolish death penalty

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The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Friday called for passage of a number of major changes to criminal law, including abolishing the death penalty in Nevada. In addition to removing capital punishment going forward, AB395 lifts the death sentence from the more than 70 inmates currently on Nevada’s death row, converting their sentence to life without the possibility of parole. For a variety of reasons including an inability to get the drugs for lethal injection, Nevada hasn’t executed anyone for more than a decade. There was no discussion during the work session and all six Republicans on the 15-member panel voted against the bill. In addition, the committee voted to amend and pass AB341, which would legalize cannabis consumption lounges in Nevada. The bill creates two kinds of lounges where patrons could consume cannabis products: those next door or within an existing licensed dispensary and those independent of a dispensary. Again, the bill was opposed by all six GOP members of Judici

USA | Former Florida Death-Row Prisoner with Innocence Claim Released Pending Outcome of Federal Appeal

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More than thirty years after a Florida judge sentenced him to death following an 8-4 sentencing recommendation by an all-white jury, Crosley Green has been freed. Citing Green’s age and health risks related to continued incarceration during the pandemic, Judge Roy B. Dalton of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on April 7, 2021, ordered Green’s immediate release while a federal appeals court considers prosecutors’ appeal of the district court’s July 2018 decision overturning his conviction. “The Court determines that, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the length of time to resolve Petitioner’s appeal, … Petitioner would be substantially injured since the Court has already reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial,” Dalton wrote. “Additionally, the public has a strong interest in the release of a prisoner whom the Court has found to be incarcerated in violation of the Constitution. The Court finds that the public interest weighs in favor of

USA | ‘Blue wall of silence’ takes hit in Chauvin’s murder trial

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Police accused of wrongdoing can usually count on the blue wall of silence — protection from fellow officers that includes everything from shutting off body cameras to refusing to cooperate with investigators. But that’s not the case with Derek Chauvin, with many colleagues quick to condemn his actions in George Floyd’s death, some even taking the stand against him. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Chauvin’s kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck was “in no way, shape or form” in line with department policy or training. Homicide detective Lt. Richard Zimmerman testified, “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill him.” Chauvin’s former supervisor, retired Sgt. David Ploeger, testified that the force used on Floyd went on too long and should have ended when the Black man was handcuffed and stopped resisting. An inspector acquainted with Chauvin for two decades and an officer who said the defendant spent a day as her training officer took the witness sta

Iran | Prisoners executed in Khorasan, Taybad, Zanjan

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); April 8, 2021: Baluch prisoner Yasser Daryayi-Narouyi, on death row on drug-related charges, has been executed in Sabzevar Prison. According to the Baluch Activists Campaign, Zahedan native, Yasser Daryayi-Narouyi was executed in Sabzevar Prison in the early hours of April 7.  The Baluch prisoner had been sentenced to death on drug-related charges. According to the report, Yasser was arrested on charges of carrying drugs a year and a half ago in Bardaskan province and sentenced to death. At the time of writing, Yasser Daryayi-Narouyi’s execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran. It has been almost four years since an Article was added to the Anti-Narcotics Law in 2017 to limit death sentences specifically and provide a general degree of reprieve in some cases.  However, while the numbers reduced that year, the death penalty is still being used in drug-related cases. According to Iran Human Rights’ Annual Report on the Death Penalty i