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Vietnam keeps its death sentences quiet. Rights groups say it's one of the world's biggest executioners

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(CNN) - For months, Mai Linh prayed. She prayed for justice for her only son Quan when he was held on drug charges in a maximum-security prison in Vietnam. She prayed for his physical health and mental well-being, that he would be looked after in prison because she could no longer see him due to heightened Covid-19 restrictions. And most of all, she prayed for his safe return. Quan, a salesman, was found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to death by lethal injection. He was executed in 2021 at the age of 31. Strapped flat on his back in a straightjacket, he was tied to a gurney and injected with a cocktail of deadly drugs. But unlike in other countries such as the United States that use lethal injections in states like Texas, Mai Linh wasn't permitted to be with her son during his final moments. "There is nothing, nothing, that can prepare you for something like that," Mai Linh said. "There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about how he died.

Oklahoma | Autopsy Reports: Recently Executed Prisoners Had Fluid in Lungs

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Oklahoma has executed 4 men over the past seven months. They all had excess fluid in their lungs when they died, autopsy reports from the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner’s office show. Dr. Ross Miller noted minimal pulmonary edema in the autopsy report of Gilbert Postelle, who the state executed on Feb. 17.  Postelle’s lungs had a combined weight of 1,220 milligrams; the adult average is between 900 and 1,000 milligrams. Previous media reports noted that John Grant, Bigler Stouffer and Donald Grant suffered from the condition at the time of their death. Oklahoma Watch obtained Postelle’s autopsy report through an open records request. Pulmonary edema, which is typically caused by heart failure, is a condition where fluid accumulates in the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Attorneys representing Oklahoma death row prisoners claim that pulmonary edema develops minutes after the sedative midazolam, the first of three drugs i

Indian-origin lawyers fined by Singapore court for delaying execution of drug trafficker

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M Ravi, who did most of the work, was ordered by the Court of Appeal to bear 75 % of the costs, while Violet Netto, who later took over as the lawyer on record, was held liable for 25 %. 2 Indian-origin Singaporean lawyers have been ordered to pay SGD20,000 (US$15,000) in costs to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for a last-ditch attempt to halt the execution of an Indian descendant Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam in April this year. M Ravi, who did most of the work, was ordered by the Court of Appeal to bear 75 % of the costs, while Violet Netto, who later took over as the lawyer on record, was held liable for 25 %. The AGC had originally sought personal costs totalling SGD 40,000 against the lawyers for setting out to delay Nagaenthran's execution by filing applications without merit, which caused it to incur unnecessary costs, according to a report by The Straits Times. Nagaenthran was hanged at Changi Prison Complex on April 27, 2022. He was convicted

Zambian President announces 'big decision' to abolish death penalty

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Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has announced he is making moves to abolish the death penalty in the country. He termed it a "big decision" by the government. “We will work with parliament to run this process as we transition away from the death penalty and focus on the preservation, and rehabilitation of life while still delivering justice for all,” he said on the eve of Wednesday’s Africa Freedom Day. “This is important. We believe in it. Africa Freedom Day is a symbol of our collective commitment to secure a better future for all.” To mark Africa Freedom Day the Zambian President has pardoned 2045 inmates, including 2012 ordinary inmates and 33 elderly inmates.  He also commuted sentences for 607 inmates. Though Zambia has had the death penalty law, no executions have taken place since the late 90s. The government will now work with Parliament to transition from the death penalty to focusing on preserving and rehabilitating life, while still delivering justice. Accord

Iran | Ladan Molla Saeedi, the 3rd Iranian woman executed in May

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The authorities of the notorious Qarchak Prison hanged Ladan Molla Saeedi in the early hours of Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Ladan Molla Saeedi had been transferred to solitary confinement the night before to be prepared for the execution. Ladan Molla Saeedi was convicted of deliberate murder. She was also moved to solitary confinement last month to prepare for execution. However, she was returned to the women’s general ward after receiving a two-week respite from the victim’s parents. With the execution of Ladan Mollah Saeedi, the clerical regime’s Judiciary has carried out the death penalties for 3 women in May alone. These executions took place in Qarchak Prison in Varamin, Adelabad Prison of Shiraz, and the Central Prison of Zahedan. The number of women executed in Iran since September 2013 has now reached 134. Iran holds the world’s record in the execution of women. The NCRI Women’s Committee had earlier announced that the mullahs’ regime executed 18 women in Iran in 2021. Most women

USA | Legal Analysts Blast Supreme Court Ruling Denying Prisoners Who Were Incompetently Represented in State Courts Access to Federal Courts to Prove Innocence, Constitutional Violations

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In an opinion legal experts have blasted as “nightmarish” and “an abomination,” the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in two Arizona death penalty cases that 1990s amendments to the federal habeas corpus law permit state prisoners who were provided ineffective representation at trial and in post-conviction proceedings to argue that their counsel were ineffective but bar them from presenting evidence of their ineffectiveness that competent lawyers had discovered once the case had reached federal court. Barry Jones’ state court lawyers had failed to investigate available evidence that he was innocent and David Martinez Ramirez’s state court lawyers had failed to investigate evidence of intellectual disability that could have led a jury to spare his life. Having failed to investigate, neither set of lawyers presented the evidence to state courts. In a May 23, 2022 ruling in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez , Justice Clarence Thomas declared for the six conservative members of the Court that neither m

Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia lead the rise in death penalty in 2021, according to Amnesty report

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The three Middle Eastern countries account for 80% of all recorded executions last year An Amnesty International annual review published on Thursday documented a rise in global state executions in 2021 with at least 579 executions known to have been carried out across 18 countries last year⁠ – an overall 20% increase from 2020⁠. The report concluded that Iran accounted for the biggest portion of the increase, executing at least 314 people – up from at least 246 in 2020 – which is the nation’s highest execution count since 2017. This was due, in part, to a marked escalation in drug-related executions. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia more than doubled its number of executions to 65 from 27 the year prior – a grim trend that continued in 2022 with the execution of 81 people in a single day in March. The two Middle Eastern countries, along with Egypt , accounted for 80% of all known executions in 2021. Significant increases from 2020 were also seen in Somalia , South Sudan and Yemen . “After th

Amnesty International | Death Penalty 2021: Facts and Figures

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Amnesty International recorded 579 executions in 18 countries in 2021, an increase of 20% from the 483 recorded in 2020. This figure represents the second lowest number of executions recorded by Amnesty International since at least 2010. Most known executions took place in China , Iran , Egypt , Saudi Arabia and Syria – in that order. China remained the world’s leading executioner – but the true extent of its use of the death penalty is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figures for executions and death sentences therefore exclude the thousands of people that Amnesty International believes to have been sentenced to death and executed in China. Figures for North Korea and Viet Nam , which are believed to have extensively resorted to executions, were also not included in the global executions figure, as secrecy and lack of access to independent information made it impossible to assess trends. Amnesty International recorded 24 women among the 579 people kno

USA | Pastors in the Valley of Death Row

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While a win for religious liberty, the Ramirez ruling will take a traumatic toll on an already burdened profession. On April 21, 2022, the state of Texas executed 78-year-old Carl Buntion, who shot and killed police officer James Irby in 1990. But Buntion wasn’t alone when he died. Beyond the usual prison staff, his spiritual adviser Barbara Laubenthal was also in attendance at his execution. She had come to know “Carl” as the man he became after serving three decades behind bars. Later, Laubenthal admits she felt deeply affected by her experience. In a statement on Twitter, the political activist said: “After witnessing tonight how a human being was killed in front of our eyes, we are convinced more than ever that the death penalty is inhumane and has no place in a democracy in the 21st century.” Her shock is not unique—even among those who support the death penalty. And with a recent Supreme Court decision, this traumatic experience will soon be shared by many other faith leaders acr