Human Rights: The Inhumane Regime of Iran

The Iranian regime is a theocratic state based on the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule). The authoritarian rulers of Iran violently clamp down on popular demands, including calls for greater personal freedoms and equality.
Freedom of assembly is effectively non-existent in Iran. That is why various social sectors are severely restricted and suppressed when they assembled to voice collective and basic demands. In this context, the Iranian people have increasingly called for the overthrow of the theocracy, believing it does not align with their democratic aspirations and inclination to join the international community as peaceful and responsible actors. In December 2017, people in more than 130 cities in all of Iran's provinces rose up against the regime in large numbers and demanded democratic change and separation of religion and state. The protestors were violently suppressed, with hundreds killed and thousands more jailed and tortured.
The cleri…

A federal judge is challenging how Connecticut treats its former death row inmates, saying they are held under cruel and unusual conditions

For the the 3rd time in a little more than a month, a federal court has slapped down Attorney General William Tong’s efforts to defend the state from accusations that Connecticut imprisons its most heinous killers in illegal circumstances that amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
The most recent ruling last week suggests that Judge Stefan R. Underhill’s patience may be wearing thin. The continuing argument by the attorney general’s office, the judge wrote, suggests it is inclined more toward “recalcitrance” than “good faith,” the evidence of that being "a parade of horribles” the state lawyers concocted from “a hypertechnical reading” of an earlier order.
It’s also apparent that the court’s principal conclusion — that the state’s treatment of its worst killers is unconstitutional — is based on an odd, five-paragraph law the legislature enacted in 2012 during its debate over the abolishment of capital punishment. The law that Underhill calls patently unconstitutional was a com…

Egyptian engineer on death row in Saudi Arabia maintains his innocence

CAIRO — The Egyptian Ministry for Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs revealed Oct. 9 that it has been in communication with Egypt's Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawy about the case of Egyptian engineer Ali Abul-Qasim, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia upon the instructions of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 
According to the statement, published by Shourouk newspaper, Sawy confirmed that his office is following the case closely through contacts with the Supreme Court in Riyadh.
Ali Abul-Qasim Abdel Warith had been working as a civil engineer in Saudi Arabia since 2007. The Saudi Anti-Narcotics Department arrested him on charges of smuggling narcotic pills known as Captagon, banned in the kingdom. He allegedly received a shipment of equipment that contained the drugs through Saudi Arabian customs.
Qasim was sentenced to death by three judges, and the verdict was then ratified by five other judges in the Appeals Chamber in October 2017.
On Nov. 29, 2018, the Supreme Court…

Serial killer who terrorized San Francisco Bay area found dead at San Quentin

California’s executioner has been beaten to the punch — again.
A convicted serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area was found dead in his tiny cell on death row at San Quentin last week.
Former sailor Anthony McKnight, 65, was the sixth doomed man on death row to die in 2019.
Officials didn’t release the cause of death.
McKnight had spent 11 years on death row. The Golden State hasn’t executed a killer since triple murderer Clarence Ray Allen got the needle on Jan. 17, 2006.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the U.S. Navy lifer was in jail for the rape and attempted murder of three women in the 1980s.
But DNA linked him to a slew of sickening cold cases. Cops tied McKnight to the horrific murders of five young women and girls.
Betty Stuart, 22, was discovered with her throat slashed on Sept. 22, 1985; Diane Stone, 17, was found a week later, also with a slashed neck; Talita Dixon, 13, was the youngest victim and was found nine days later, stabbed to death; Moni…

Bangladesh: Muslim group seeks death for Hindu man over Facebook post

A Muslim outfit in Bangladesh on Monday demanded the death penalty for a Hindu man over an allegedly blasphemous post on Facebook.
The demand to enforce the death penalty against Biplob Chandra Baidya Shuvo, a Hindu youth, was made by the Shorbodolio Muslim Oikya Parishad. Thousands of supporters of Muslim groups participated in protests in Bhola district, over 100km away from Dhaka, on Sunday to demand action over the contentious Facebook post. Four people were killed when the police opened fire to disperse the protesters.
Biplob approached the police in Borhanuddin upazila in Bhola on October 19, to complain that his Facebook account had been hacked. The blasphemous post allegedly defamed Allah and Prophet Mohammad. Police took Biplob into custody and later also detained two Muslim youth—Emon and Sharif—who were suspected to have hacked Biplob's Facebook account.
Even though the police confirmed by Sunday evening Biplob was not behind the blasphemous post, the Muslim Oikya Pari…

Former Nazi SS guard, 93, goes on trial in Hamburg

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — From his post as a teenage SS private in a watchtower in Nazi Germany’s Stutthof concentration camp, Bruno Dey could hear the screams of Jews dying in the gas chamber. And, Dey later told investigators, the carting of their lifeless bodies to the camp’s crematorium was a daily sight.
More than seven decades later, Dey went on trial Thursday on 5,230 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court. Pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair, accompanied by one of his daughters, the 93-year-old wore a wide-brimmed hat and held a red folder in front of his face to shield it from the cameras.
After they had gone, he dropped the cover to reveal a full head of neatly combed white hair and a mustache. He answered basic questions from Presiding Judge Anne Meier-Goering, such as his date and place of birth.
As prosecutor Lars Mahnke then detailed how Jews were gassed, shot and starved to death as part of the “systematic killing” in the camp where he stood guard 75 …

Bali meth cases: French, Thai nationals could face firing squad

Two Thai women and a Frenchman could face the death penalty after they were caught smuggling meth into Bali, the Indonesian holiday island's customs agency said on Monday.
The Thai nationals - identified as Kasarin Khamkhao and Sanicha Maneetes - arrived last week on a flight from Bangkok and suspicious airport officials found nearly a kilogramme of methamphetamine hidden under their clothes, authorities said.
"A lab test confirmed all the packages contained methamphetamine weighing 958g in total," Himawan Indarjono, head of immigration at Bali's international airport, told reporters on Monday.
The pair - a janitor and an operator of a motorcycle rental shop in Thailand - could face a firing squad if convicted in the Muslim majority nation, which has some of the world's toughest drug laws. 
Separately, Frenchman Olivier Jover was arrested in Bali after a package sent from his home country containing some 22.5g of meth arrived at the airport with his address on i…

Tennessee executed a suspected killer. Attorneys say the real culprit may be behind a vicious attack in Missouri.

Lawyers argue that DNA testing may point to new suspect for 1985 murder
When Thomas Bruce was charged last year with a shocking crime, investigators found something strange: He had a clean criminal record.
In November 2018, the former Missouri pastor allegedly posed as a customer at a Catholic Supply store in the suburbs of St. Louis before returning with a gun and forcing 2 women to perform sex acts, then killing a 3rd. Given the horrific nature of the crime and the fact that it seemed carefully planned, police suspected it was the work of an experienced criminal, the Riverfront Times reported. Soon, other disturbing allegations about Bruce surfaced.
Now, attorneys are questioning whether the 54-year-old might also be linked to another senseless murder that took place decades ago in Tennessee. Authorities have long considered the 1985 death of Suzanne Marie Collins to be a closed case, and in 2006, her alleged killer was executed by lethal injection. But the crime scene evidence neve…

Parkland massacre trial officially set for January 2020. Shooter’s defense team isn’t happy.

The death-penalty trial for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz will start in January 2020, a Broward judge ruled Thursday, drawing immediate protests from defense lawyers who believe they won’t be ready in time.
Cruz, who fatally shot 17 students and staffers and wounded 17 more, faces possible execution if convicted in what was Florida’s worst mass school shooting. 
The trial would start less than 2 years after Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, took an Uber to the campus and methodically gunned down his victims with an AR-15 rifle.
Cruz, now 20, was arrested blocks away from the school and has been jailed ever since. The shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, led to a wave of gun control activism, and even a Florida law tightening restrictions on firearms.
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer issued her formal scheduling order on Thursday. 
Jury selection will begin Jan. 27, 2020, and the trial will be moved to a bigger courtroom, she wrote.
In Florida, it’s normal f…

Georgia: DA, former investigator to argue against clemency for Cromartie

The death sentence pronounced on a Thomasville man more than 2 decades ago is scheduled to be carried out in 12 days.
Ray Jefferson Cromartie is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30, at the state prison in Jackson. The death sentence was pronounced by Superior Court Judge Frank Horkan on Oct. 1, 1997.
Cromartie was found guilty in September 1997 of murdering Richard Slysz, a West Jackson Street convenience store clerk, during an armed robbery in which beer was stolen. Slysz was shot twice in the head on April 10, 1994.
At the same trial, Cromartie also was found guilty of critically wounding Dan Wilson, an employee at a North Madison Street convenience store, on April 7, 1997. Wilson survived, despite a bullet severing his carotid artery.
Southern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brad Shealy will attend a Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles' clemency hearing for the 52-year-old Cromartie.
The hearing will determine if clemency should be grant…

Texas: DNA Experts Say Death Row Inmate Convicted Of Killing White Woman Is Innocent

Rodney Reed was convicted of killing a white woman by an all-white jury in 1998.
On November 20, a Black man is about to be executed by the state of Texas for killing a white woman. However, DNA experts say it is “scientifically impossible” that he committed the crime.
In 1996, 19-year-old Stacey Stites was murdered. By 1998, Rodney Reed, who was 28 at the time, was convicted of murder. Her body was found in Bastrop, Texas on the side of the road.
Reed was tied to the murder because his DNA was found in Stites’s vaginal cavity. However, Reed was having an affair with Stites, who was engaged to police officer Jimmy Fennel. A former co-worker of Stites confirmed the affair.
Reed has been on death row for over 2 decades and the Innocence Project is fighting for his life.
There are many discrepancies in the case. 
According to the Innocence Project a team of renowned forensic DNA experts have concluded that it is “medically and scientifically impossible for Reed to be guilty. 
The advoca…