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Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

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For the past 3 months, Christopher Anthony Young has awoken in his 10-by-6 foot concrete cell on death row and had to remind himself: He's scheduled to die soon.
As the day crept closer, the thought became more constant for Young, who's sentenced to die for killing Hasmukh "Hash" Patel in 2004.
"What will it feel like to lay on the gurney?" he asks himself. "To feel the needle pierce my vein?"
Mitesh Patel, who was 22 when Young murdered his father, has anxiously anticipated those moments, as well. He wonders how he will feel when he files into the room adjacent to the death chamber and sees Young just feet away through a glass wall.
For years, Patel felt a deep hatred for Young. He wanted to see him die. Patel knew it wouldn't bring his father back. But it was part of the process that started 14 years ago when Young, then 21, gunned down Hash Patel during a robbery at Patel's convenience store on the Southeast Side of San Antonio.
3 mont…

Japan: Aum executions renew questions on death penalty

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The secrecy surrounding executions in Japan, including the opaque procedure leading up the decision on whom on death row to hang and when, is a problem that was once again highlighted in the July 6 execution of Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara and 6 other former members of the cult convicted of a series of deadly crimes, including the 1995 sarin gassing on Tokyo subway trains. Whether or not people support the death penalty, they should be given enough information about the system and its implementation to make an informed judgment on the issue. More efforts are needed to promote transparency in Japan's death penalty system and executions.
The criticism voiced by the European Union and other parties over the hangings of the Aum cultists focused on the capital punishment system. According to Amnesty International, more than 140 countries around the world have either abolished the death penalty or effectively shelved it. Japan, the United States and South Korea are the sole OECD…

Lethal injection trial: Bloody foam shows drugs cause pain, panic for condemned, expert says

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The next person executed by Tennessee will almost certainly suffer symptoms similar to drowning, if the state uses the lethal injection drugs it intends to purchase, attorneys for 33 death row inmates argued Monday in court. 
An expert medical witness testified in Davidson County Chancery Court that autopsies of previously executed inmates showed evidence the inmates suffered symptoms also typically found in drowning, after injection of toxins into the body or after exposure to toxic gas. 
The argument is key to this case: if death row inmates are essentially drowning during an execution, their attorneys say the state is conducting unconstitutional torture. 
The outcome of this case may have immediate ramifications. Tennessee plans to execute Billy Ray Irick on Aug. 9. The 59-year-old Knox County man has been convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl. 
Central question: When does execution become torture?
Attorneys for the death row inmates used expert witness Dr. Ma…

Southeast Asia Drug Use Persists Despite Death Penalty

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Southeast Asian authorities are not shy about doling out the death penalty to punish drug traffickers, and yet narcotics abuse has not abated. If anything, it is on the rise, which begs the question of whether the region's war on drugs is working.
The latest report on global trends from the United Nations shows that while Colombia remains the world's top source of cocaine, Asia is now emerging as a hub for both transportation and consumption of the drug. In 2016 cocaine seizures tripled across the continent in the span of just a year, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in its June report.
But methamphetamine is making even bigger leaps in Southeast Asia because it is not as geographically restricted as cocaine, which depends on cultivation of the coca plant. Officials in countries around the Mekong region seized 65 tons of methamphetamine in tablet and crystalline form in 2017, the UNODC said in a separate report -- that is nearly 600 percent more than the amount seized …

Child tragedies reignite death penalty calls in Turkey

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A string of cases in which missing children were found dead has reignited calls to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey, but some see political motives behind the outcry.
The Turkish media in recent weeks has been awash with stories of missing children, some of whom have met a tragic end. On July 2, the body of a 4-year-old girl was found outside a village in the eastern province of Agri, where she had gone missing 18 days before while the family was visiting relatives. On June 30, the security forces dug up the body of an 8-year-old girl in Polatli near Ankara. The girl, who had been missing for a week, was reportedly tortured, sexually abused and strangled to death. On July 8, a 2-year-old boy was found dead outside his village in the southeastern province of Bitlis a day after he went missing. Also on July 8, the security forces recovered the body of a speech-handicapped 6-year-old boy in a mountainous area in the southern province of Hatay, about a week after he vanished while in…

Texas executes Christopher Young

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Christopher Young was executed for the 2004 murder and robbery of a San Antonio convenience store clerk. 
A Texas prisoner was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner after courts turned down appeals that the state parole board improperly rejected the inmate's clemency request because he's black.
Christopher Young, 34, never denied the slaying, which was recorded on a store surveillance camera, but insisted he was drunk and didn't intend to kill 53-year-old Hasmukh "Hash" Patel during an attempted robbery after drinking nearly two dozen beers and then doing cocaine that Sunday morning, Nov. 21, 2004.
Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Young said he wanted to make sure his victim's family knew he loved them "like they love me."
"Make sure the kids in the world know I'm being executed and those kids I've been mentoring keep this fight going," he added.
As the lethal dose …

Iran Publicly Flogs Young Man For Drinking Alcohol

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A young man was publicly flogged in eastern city of Kashmar, in Razavi Khorasan Province, the state-run Young Journalist Club website reported on Tuesday.
The young old victim, identified by the state media as M.R was sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking alcohol beverages 10 years ago at the age of 15 or 16, in a wedding party where he got engaged in a fight leading to the death of a 17 year old man.
The city’s prosecutor stated that M.R did not collaborate in murder and the sentence of the main murderer had been carried out before. But he was involved in the fight and his sentence will be carried out.
“The judiciary would seriously and decisively deal with those drink beverages or involve in fights, particularly in wedding praties,” he added.
Torture and merciless punishment have been institutionalized in the regime’s punishment laws and is sanctioned by the Judiciary as well as the regime officials.
Hadi Sadeghi, Deputy Chancellor of the Judiciary was quoted by the state-run ISNA ne…

Iran Hangs Five, Including Woman; Sentences Another To Death After Nine Years

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The General and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Mazandaran Province announced that a prisoner had been executed in Sari Prison, reported the state-run ILNA news agency on July 5, 2018.
Younes Hosseini Alami said that the convicted person, identified as L.M., was sentenced to death for murder, and was executed in the front yard of Sari Prison, in Mazandaran Province, north of Iran.
Earlier this month, the prosecutor of Sistan and Baluchestan Province announced the execution of Naeem Manduzehi, father of nine, on July 7, on charges of murder in the central prison of Zahedan, southeastern Iran.
In yet another case on Sunday, July 8, the sentences of three Sunni religious prisoners in Urmia Prison, which had remained in limbo since December 2009, were announced. 
Anwar Khezri and Khosrow Besharat were each sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for participating in a crime scene and Kamran Shikheh was sentenced to death. 
These prisoners, along with four other Sunni prisoners, have been in pris…

Execution date pushed back for Texas 7 escapee after paperwork error on death warrant

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Joseph Garcia is scheduled for execution in August.
Citing a court's clerical mistake, prosecutors this week asked for a new execution date for Texas 7 escapee Joseph Garcia.
The condemned Dallas County killer was scheduled to die on Aug. 30, but on Wednesday the court approved a new Dec. 4 date after the clerk failed to issue a death warrant in time.
"This statutory violation could result in a last-minute stay of execution," prosecutors wrote in a Tuesday court filing.
State law requires that the court issue a death warrant within 10 days of greenlighting the execution date. But in Garcia's case, a Dallas County judge set the date on May 24, and the warrant wasn't issued until June 6 - 3 days late.
Last February, a similar issue forced the state to grant a stay in the case of Tilon Carter, a Tarrant County death row prisoner. In that case, defense lawyers were notified a day late, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ended up calling off the execution four da…

Taiwan: Outgoing minister denies death penalty veto claims

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Outgoing Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san on his final day in office yesterday rejected a suggestion that he was forced out because he would not order executions.
At a farewell ceremony held by the ministry, Ciu was asked about his thoughts on the death penalty and his handling of several high-profile murder cases, which media reported was the reason for Chiu being forced out in the Cabinet reshuffle.
A number of heinous crimes were committed over the past few months, but it would not be right to rush to conclusions, Chiu said, implying that ordering executions would be the wrong response.
"Protecting social stability and public safety requires the establishment of a strong social safety net," he said. "The justice ministry has since last year been working with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to improve treatment for people with mental problems."
"Police have also taken measures to prevent heinous crimes. We have seen several serious cases lately, but it w…