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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

India: After 13 years on death row, 5 men finally walk free: "The fear never leaves you"

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In an unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court, after restoring the appeals of the six convicts on death row, not only set aside their conviction and death sentence but also asked the state to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of them
Twenty-one-year-old Arjun Shinde points to a shed built with 12 bamboo sticks and eight asbestos sheets that he and his 17-year-old brother Krishna built last week. “Not all the sheets are new, some are old. But we wanted to have some semblance of a home when Pappa came back from prison. He was coming home after 16 years. He would have felt bad to find out that his family had no home while he was gone,” says Arjun.
In Bhokardan’s Kailash Nagar, stripped of lustre both by its parched backdrop and abject poverty, the shiny sheets of metal are conspicuous in their newness. The colony that is home to five extended families of the nomadic Vadar tribe, however, closed in to cheer the return of Ambadas Shinde, Bapu Shinde, Rajya Shinde last week but still …

Singapore: Malaysia to appeal Sarawakian’s death sentence

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MALAYSIA will try to save Michael Garing as many believe the death penalty is excessive, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We hope other countries (Singapore) feel the same way.
“For instance, Australia will not return a convicted offender (Sirul Azhar Umar) because there is the death penalty here,” the prime minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said the government will appeal to the Singapore president to commute Michael’s death sentence, which is due to be carried out on Friday.
RELATED | Lawyer calls on Singapore to halt Malaysian's Friday execution
“We will continue to send our representation and protest on this issue as we have done before,” said Liew yesterday.
RELATED | AI: Stop imminent hanging of Malaysian national
Sirul, a former bodyguard of Najib Razak who was sentenced to death in 2015 for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, is currently in Australia under a political asylum. 
Australia has declined to deport Si…

Singapore: Stop imminent hanging of Malaysian national

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The Singaporean authorities must halt the imminent execution of Micheal Anak Garing, a Malaysian national, Amnesty International said today.
Garing and another man, both from Sarawak, Malaysia, were convicted of murder by the High Court of Singapore in 2014 for killing a man during an armed robbery that took place in 2010. Garing was sentenced to death.
His family was recently informed that his execution is scheduled to take place on Friday 22 March.
“Once again, Singapore threatens to inflict the kind of cruelty it claims to oppose. No matter how heinous the crime, the death penalty is a degrading and inhuman punishment. We denounce its use in all circumstances,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Singapore Researcher at Amnesty International. “The Singaporean authorities must immediately halt their plans to carry out this callous execution.”

RELATED | Lawyer calls on Singapore to halt Malaysian's Friday execution
This would be the first execution to take place in Singapore this year that…

Netanyahu to slain rabbi’s family: We’ll seek to enact death penalty for terror

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But PM says legislation ‘not promising’ and ‘we don’t determine the punishment’; relatives of Achiad Ettinger accuse IDF soldiers of failing to open fire at terrorist
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday paid a condolence call to the family of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, who was killed in a combined shooting and stabbing terror attack in the northern West Bank on Sunday.
During the visit in the central West Bank settlement of Eli, Netanyahu told the bereaved family he would attempt to legislate the death penalty for terrorists in Israel. “It’s not promising, it’s not promising,” he added, according to footage from the visit.
Ettinger, a 47-year-old father of 12, succumbed to his injuries on Monday, a day after the attack that began at Ariel Junction, in which IDF soldier Gal Keidan, 19, was also killed.
According to Israeli authorities, after fatally stabbing Keidan, the suspect, who has been named as Omar Abu Laila, 18, grabbed his gun and opened fire at passing vehicles, hitting …

USA: Most states have the death penalty. Few actually carry out executions.

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The execution chamber at the San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco has never been used, an $853,000 facility that has sat empty for more than a decade.
After a federal judge assailed the old chamber as dimly lit and “poorly designed,” California constructed the new one to carry out sentences for inmates on the country’s largest death row. But since it was completed in early 2008, the state — facing legal challenges to its lethal injection procedures — has not carried out a single execution.
Then on Wednesday, after Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, signed an order declaring a moratorium on executions and shutting down the San Quentin chamber, officials began dismantling the same facility the state upgraded and never used.
While Newsom’s order effectively maintains the status quo in California, it means that the state will retain its place among many where death chambers have remained dormant in recent years. Kentucky last carried out an execution in 2008. California and 3 other states — No…

"California move is part of 'growing momentum' against death penalty"

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Capital punishment expert Robert Dunham said Monday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) decision to suspend the death penalty marks a growing trend in states across the country.
Dunham, executive director of Death Penalty Information Center, said even though there has been a long-term decline in the use of capital punishment in the U.S. both in terms of perception and policy, he said the trend is also picking up steam in states like Colorado and Oregon.
“I think it’s part of this momentum that we’re seeing, especially in the Western United States, away from the death penalty,” Dunham told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”
“Colorado looks like it’s moving to abolish, the Washington Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional last year and the legislature is trying to take it off of the books this year,” he continued.
The advocate added that Oregon legislators are also pushing for a bill that would redefine aggravated murder crimes under state law so …

Erdoğan regrets abolishing death penalty, vows to sign off if parliament approves

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said he is ready to sign off on restoring the death penalty in the country, should the country’s parliament pass it, independent news site Diken reported.
“We made a mistake, we abolished the death penalty,” Erdoğan said during a campaign rally for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the northern province of Zonguldak ahead of the March 31 local elections.
“I have always said it and I will say it again. If our parliament decides on this matter, I will approve it,” the Turkish president added. 
Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004,one year after Erdoğan came into power as prime minister, though no executions have taken place since 1984.
The Turkish president has repeatedly said that he would approve, “without hesitation” the death penalty, if parliament voted to restore it — a move that would effectively end the country’s decades-long bid to join the EU.
Erdoğan on Tuesday also urged New Zealand to restore the death…

Eyewitness to execution: The Sacramento Bee’s coverage of 1992 gas chamber execution

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Gov. Gavin Newsom stirred controversy with his order Wednesday placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California for 737 condemned inmates. No one has been executed in the state since 2006, and only 13 inmates have been put to death since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978 in California.
The first execution since then was of Robert Alton Harris on April 21, 1992.
The following is an account of that execution from Bee reporter Sam Stanton, who was a witness to two gas chamber and six lethal injection executions:
SAN QUENTIN In the end, Robert Alton Harris seemed determined to go peacefully, a trait that had eluded him in the 39 violent and abusive years he spent on Earth.
As the cyanide fumes rose up to his face in the San Quentin gas chamber, he inhaled deeply and stared straight ahead, barely moving until death throes convulsed his body.
His trademark smirk was gone, replaced by a haunting look of sadness spawned by one last hellish night of fighting for his life and two pr…