Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Iran: Execution of a Prisoner on Drug-Related Charges; Juvenile's Execution Confirmed

Iran Human Rights (Aug 13, 2018): A prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central Prison on drug-related charges last Wednesday.
According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday, August 8, one prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central Prison. 
The prisoner, sentenced to death on drug-related charges, was identified as Eyvaz Bidast, son of Mohammad Taqi.
The prisoner was transferred to the solitary confinement from ward 9 of Tabriz Central Prison. He was arrested on drug-related charges 12 years ago. 
There is no information regarding the exact amount and type of the drug the defendant was charged with and it is not clear why his case was not subject to the new drug law.
This is the third drug-related execution that has been reported by Iran Human Rights (IHR) since November 14, 2017, when the new drug law was enforced. 
The new drug law includes a mechanism that leads to a decrease in the number of death sentences and reduces the sentence of the death-row prisoners and those sentence…

US state poised for first execution with fentanyl

Nebraska was scheduled today to carry out America's first execution employing the opioid fentanyl as part of a four-drug combination that has never before been used.
The powerful synthetic painkiller -- a key cause of death in America's opioid and heroin abuse epidemic -- was to be the second injection administered to Carey Dean Moore, sentenced to death for two 1979 murders.
Moore is not contesting his execution, the Midwestern state's first in 21 years. But a last-minute legal challenge filed on his behalf could still cause a delay.
Underscoring the difficulty states across the country have had in obtaining previously employed execution drugs, three of the four intravenous medications Nebraska is scheduled to use have never before been used for lethal injections.
It is a pivotal test for the state, which last performed an execution in 1997 with the electric chair.
The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday asked the state's highest court to delay Moore's execut…

Nebraska set for execution after about-face on death penalty

Drugmaker: No more appeals in Nebraska execution
A German pharmaceutical company says it won’t ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene after losing an appeal in a case that threatened to block Nebraska from carrying out its first execution since 1997. 
Drug company Fresenius Kabi recently filed a lawsuit accusing Nebraska prison officials of improperly obtaining its drugs for lethal injections. 
The company said it doesn’t want its drugs used in executions and asked a federal judge to prevent the state from doing so Tuesday. 
The judge refused, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision Monday. 
An attorney for Fresenius Kabi said later Monday that the company won’t pursue an additional review with the nation’s highest court. 
That means Carey Dean Moore is still scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the 1979 shooting deaths of two Omaha cab drivers. 
Source: Associated Press, August 13

Appeals court refuses to halt Nebraska execution
A federal appeals court has …

South Dakota sets execution for man in prison guard's death

A man who pleaded guilty to the 2011 killing of a South Dakota prison guard is set to be executed in the fall, the state's attorney general said Wednesday.
Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a statement that Rodney Berget, 56, is scheduled to be executed between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3. 
Jackley's office said the warden of the state penitentiary will choose the specific time and date, which will be announced within 48 hours of the execution.
Circuit Court Judge Bradley Zell issued a warrant of execution for Berget, who would be the 1st person put to death in South Dakota in roughly 6 years.
"We will be ready to carry out the order of the court," Department of Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk said in a statement.
Berget pleaded guilty in April 2012 to killing Ronald "R.J." Johnson in a failed prison escape attempt in April 2011 along with fellow inmate Eric Robert, who was executed in 2012.
An attorney for Berget wasn't immediately available to comme…

USA: State of Nebraska set to carry out first execution in 21 years

‘The US capital justice system is fundamentally broken’ - Kristina Roth
Amnesty International is urging the authorities in the US state of Nebraska to cancel plans to carry out its first execution in 21 years.
Prison authorities in the state have scheduled the lethal injection execution of Carey Dean Moore for tomorrow.
Mr Moore, who was sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of two taxi drivers, is not contesting his execution but it could nevertheless be delayed by a lawsuit from a German pharmaceutical company over claims that the state illegally obtained the company’s drugs to use in tomorrow’s lethal injection.
The execution is set to be the first in the USA to use the drug fentanyl as part of a lethal injection.
The last execution in Nebraska took place in 1997, one of only three executions the state has conducted since 1976 - all three were conducted in the 1990s and carried out by electrocution. 
Since 1997, seven US states have abolished the death penalty and four others have…

America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation

In 1985, Billy Ray Irick committed a hideous crime in Tennessee. Last week, the state of Tennessee responded in kind.
NASHVILLE — On Thursday morning, The Knoxville News Sentinel published a front-page story by Matt Lakin about the imminent execution of Billy Ray Irick. The inmate had been on death row since 1986, a year after he confessed to raping and murdering a 7-year-old child left in his care. The little girl was named Paula Dyer. She called her murderer “Uncle Bill.” The print headline read, “Paula Dyer’s last day on Earth.”
Thursday was Billy Ray Irick’s last day on Earth. His execution was the first in Tennessee since 2009.
The physical evidence against him was incontrovertible, and no one is questioning his guilt. But there are big questions about whether Tennessee should have executed him. As Nashville Scene’s Steven Hale has reported in depth, Mr. Irick apparently suffered from severe mental illness. He spent much of his childhood in a home for abused and troubled childre…

Paralysis, eye gouging, amputation, crucifixion: The Medieval punishments faced by criminals in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia continues to use barbaric methods of execution claiming they are justified by the Quran and its traditions
Saudi Arabia has some of the most barbaric and bizarre punishments in the world. Public beheadings, amputations, eye for an eye retribution and flogging all form part of the justice system.
As The Sun reported this week, a murderer was crucified after being found guilty of repeatedly stabbing a woman, his body hung on a cross after execution.
Crown Prince Salman wants to make the desert kingdom a tech savvy 21st century nation and has introduced liberal reforms.
Yet for all his ambitions, the country still has the trappings of one caught in a altogether different era, particularly when it comes to its justice system.
Saudi Arabia retains the death penalty for a large number of offences including drug trafficking and "sorcery" as well as murder.
The majority of death sentences are carried out in public by beheading, drawing comparisons with the shocking brut…

India: Law Allowing Death Penalty For Rape Of Children Cleared By President

The Home Ministry drafted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years.
NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, that provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
The amendment replaces the criminal law amendment ordinance promulgated on April 21 after the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua and another woman in Unnao.
"This Act may be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018. It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 21st day of April, 2018," a gazette notification said.
The Act will further amend the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The President's assent, given yesterday, came after Parliament approved the amendments to the…

Nebraska cleared to carry out country’s first fentanyl execution, judge says

A federal judge on Friday rejected a drug company’s request to block Nebraska from using what the company believes are its products in an execution next week, clearing the way for the state to carry out its first lethal injection and the country’s first execution using the powerful opioid fentanyl.
The drug company quickly moved to appeal the judge’s order, leaving uncertain whether the execution will still take place as planned.
The ruling came in a case centering on Nebraska’s plans to execute Carey Dean Moore, a 60-year-old inmate sentenced to death in 1980 for killing two Omaha cabdrivers. But the case may also reverberate beyond Nebraska, coming at a time when states, increasingly unable to obtain the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections, are encountering a wave of opposition from the companies that make and distribute those products.
The legal battle over Moore’s execution took shape amid Nebraska’s efforts to carry out an execution that would be its first in 21 years. D…