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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…

Proposed South Carolina bill would make electrocution main method of execution for death penalty inmates

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - While many argue that death by electrocution is inhumane, South Carolina lawmakers said other options aren’t available anymore.
The main method of execution in S.C. is lethal injection, but a proposed bill would change that to electrocution.
"For the past probably 10 years, we have had the effect of the death penalty and there are a number of people sitting on South Carolina death row, but no manner or mechanism to carry it out,” said Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.
According to the S.C. Department of Corrections, there are 37 inmates on death row, all set to receive lethal injection. However, Richardson said pharmaceutical companies have stopped supplying the mix of drugs used for that method of execution.
“They’re worried about people that will call them out and protest,” said state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch.
"What they’re doing is saying the electric chair is default and some other manner may be the secondary way,” said Richardson.
In…

Malaysia: No referendum on abolishing death penalty, says minister

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KOTA KINABALU: The government will not hold a public vote on the proposal to abolish the death penalty.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the matter was an ongoing process and not finalised.
“It is not completed yet because the papers have to go through various ministries.
“We are not going to have a referendum on that matter. That’s for sure,” he told reporters after the opening of the Sabah and Sarawak Legal Year at the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex, here, today.
Liew was responding to a Facebook poll by Berita Harian, where 85 per cent of Netizens agreed for the government to hold a referendum before deciding on abolishing the death penalty.
In October last year, the cabinet gave the green light for the death penalty to be abolished.
Liew had said the necessary paperwork to abolish the death penalty already received the go ahead from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to be tabled in Parliament.
In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by…

Pakistan's 'poetic justice' takes oath, pledges reform

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A Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, 64, is the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan. He was one of the judges who disqualified from politics for life former prime minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption.

Pakistan's new chief justice was sworn in on Friday, pledging reform of a Supreme Court whose controversial decisions include ousting a prime minister and freeing a Christian accused of blasphemy.
Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, 64, became the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan after a televised ceremony at President's House in Islamabad saw the judge take the oath in front a crowd of dignitaries.
"I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour," said Khosa.
Known as the "poetic justice" for his habit of citing works of literature in his judgements, he is regarded as Pakistan's top expert in criminal law.
Khosa was a member of the Supreme Court panel that last year overturned the death penalty then freed a Christian woman jailed for blasphemy, sparkin…

Man Hanged in Northern Iran

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); January 17, 2018: A prisoner was hanged for murder charges in Northern Iranian province of Mazandaran on Wednesday. 
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), on the morning of January 16, 2019, a 29 years old prisoner was hanged for murder charges.
He had reportedly murdered a person during a robbery in Moziraj District of Babol city, northern Iran, on September 21, 2012.
“His execution was scheduled two weeks ago. However, he got another two weeks in order try to win the consent of the plaintiffs,” head of Babol judiciary courthouse, Fazlollah Vakili Rad, said.
According to the Iranian Islamic Penal Code (IPC) murder is punishable by qisas which means “retribution in kind” or retaliation.

In this way, the State effectively puts the responsibility of the death sentence for murder on the shoulders of the victim’s family. In qisas cases, the plaintiff has the possibility to forgive or demand diya (blood money).

In many cases, the victim's famil…

Iran: Man executed in public, with children watching

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); January 15, 2019: A prisoner was hanged in Public at a square in Falavarjan City, Isfahan Province, in Iran. 
He was sentenced to death for murder and rape charges.
According to the Iranian website Mashregh News, Mohammad Javad Shams was executed on Tuesday, January 15, for murdering a five years old girl. 
Mohammad Javad Shams was arrested last October for kidnapping and murdering Melika, 5, during an ill-fated drug dealing. 
He had reportedly kidnapped Melika along with her brother and sister, killed Melika and raped her elder sister, Maryam.
His death sentence has been carried out just four months after his arrest, and it is unknown that he had a fair trial or not.
Pictures published by the Iranian media show several children among the crowd watching the execution.
According to the head of Isfahan Province Judiciary Courthouse, the defendant was “convicted to qisas (retribution in kind) for murdering Melika, sentenced to death for raping (Melika’s elder si…

“I see that you have made three spelling mistakes,” muttered Marquis de Favras upon reading his death warrant

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Public execution and torture as criminal punishment goes back a long way in European history. Often the sentence was engineered to fit the crime, in some unthinkably gruesome ways.
In France, during the period from 1789 to 1799, hundreds of thousands of men and women were arrested and tens of thousands executed in the name of the French Revolution. One prominent episode concerns Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, a high-profile nobleman who was hanged in 1790 for plotting to rescue King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette.
The Marquis de Favras was born in 1744 and was distinguished for his service in the army. His hanging marked an important turning point as he was the first nobleman for whom there was no class distinction in his mode of execution. By tradition, nobles were spared from a drawn-out public humiliation — those sentenced to death would receive a swift beheading by axe or sword.
Commoners, in contrast, were made a spectacle of. One of the least brutal, although far f…

Two killed and 40 detained in Chechnya’s new LGBTQ purge

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Following an initial report last week that Chechnya has launched a new crackdown on LGBTQ people in the region, activists have come forward to claim that there have already been fatalities.
According to this new information two people have been killed and further 40 have been detained purely because of their sexual orientation.
It has been reported that the two deaths were caused by the use of torture by police in the Russian republic.
Both men and women have been detained in this new wave of persecution, The Russian LGBT Network have said, following the detention of an administrator for a group for LGBTQ people on the social network VKontakte.
Much like the first wave of persecution back in 2017, police threatened the victims’ families with violence if they spoken out about the crackdown.
Authorities have also reportedly taken documents from the prisoners so they cannot escape the region while being held at a jail in the town of Argun.
“The persecution of men and women suspected of h…

Iran Publicly Executes Man On Sodomy Charges

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A man was hanged by Iran Thursday, January 10, in the southwestern city of Kazeroon, the state-run ISNA news agency reported.
The 31-year old man who had not been identified by the state media was hanged after being found guilty of charges related to sodomy.
He was sentenced to death by Branch 4 of a provincial Penal Court after being charged with “lavat” – sexual intercourse between two men.
Branch 42 of the Supreme Court upheld the sentence later.
ISNA said the man was also convicted of “kidnapping.”
Iran is the world’s leading executioner per capita, with many hangings carried out in public. 
At least 285 executions including 11 in public were carried out in the period spanning December 2017 to December 2018. 
The real numbers were likely to be much higher as use of capital punishment in Iran is often shrouded in secrecy.
The UN General Assembly in December 2018 approved a resolution criticizing Iran’s human rights record.
The resolution had condemned the systematic violations of …

Saudi teen who fled family pledges to fight for women escaping persecution

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Rahaf Mohammed said she will work in support of ‘the same freedom’ she experienced after arriving in Canada
Rahaf Mohammed, the Saudi teen who shot into the headlines after barricading herself into a Thai hotel room, has pledged to fight for women fleeing persecution after she successfully escaped abuse and the fear of death in her home country.
“Today and for years to come, I will work in support of freedom for women around the world – the same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada,” she told reporters at a press conference in Toronto.
After her plans to seek asylum in Australia fell apart and she feared deportation back to Saudi Arabia, UNHCR intervened and granted her refugee status. Canada offered to resettle her and she landed in Toronto on Saturday.

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