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USA | Vast Majority on Federal Death Row Have Significant Impairments

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The federal government is set to carry out its first execution in 17 years on July 13. Robert Dunham, the executive director of the nonpartisan Death Penalty Information Center, examines research that shows federal death-row prisoners have a high rate of significant impairments and that there is disproportionate racial bias in death penalty usage.
The federal government has scheduled four executions for July and August in an effort to restart executions after a nearly 17-year hiatus. This move is out of step with and in stark contrast to the nation’s 25-year trend away from executions.
Today, 22 states and the District of Columbia no longer allow the death penalty. Another 12 states haven’t carried out an execution in more than a decade. More notable, however, is what the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), where I am executive director, has found by taking a close look at the ever-shrinking number of individuals who continue to face execution in the U.S., including …

Indonesia | Frenchman facing death penalty for molesting hundreds of kids

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JAKARTA: A French retiree could face the death penalty in Indonesia on charges that he molested over 300 children and beat those who refused to have sex with him, authorities said Thursday.
Police said they nabbed Francois Camille Abello, 65, last month at a hotel in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, where they found two underaged girls in his room.
Abello could face life in prison or even execution by firing squad if he is convicted on a raft of charges under Indonesia’s child protection laws, including accusations that he filmed the illicit encounters.
Police said they had found videos on Abello’s laptop computer that showed him engaging in illegal sex acts with hundreds of children aged between 10 and 17.
The pensioner had entered the Southeast Asian nation on a tourist visa several times over the past five years, according to police.
“He would approach children and lure them by offering them work as models,” Jakarta police chief Nana Sudjana told reporters Thursday.
“The ones who agre…

Iranian Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentences for Three Protestors

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); July 10, 2020: The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of three detained protestors, Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi, arrested at the nationwide demonstrations last November.
According to Iran Human Rights (IHR), the death sentences of Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, who have been held at the Greater Tehran Prison (Fashafuyeh), were upheld by the Supreme Court today.
In a tweet, Saeed and Mohammad’s lawyer, Mostafa Nili wrote: "Unfortunately, the death sentences of my clients have been upheld by the Supreme Court at the appeal stage." Nili, who has not only been denied access to the case but also the opportunity to represent his clients has said he will be seeking a retrial.
Numerous informed sources have told IHR that the three detainees had been "tortured" during their detention in order to obtain forced confessions.
"They are holding around 60 protestors in Fashafuyeh Prison’s …

EU condemns U.S. for resuming federal executions

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The European Union on Friday condemned the Trump administration for reimposing the federal death penalty and urged the Justice Department to reverse corse, saying such moves marched in the face of global efforts to end capital punishment.
“The European Union strongly opposes the decision of the United States Department of Justice to resume the federal death penalty after a 17-year hiatus,” the EU spokesperson said in a statement.
“This decision runs counter to the overall trend in the United States and worldwide to abolish the death penalty, either by law or in practice.”
The statement said the EU views the death penalty as “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” and called for the implementation of effective and nonlethal punishment measures.
The spokesperson said the EU stands behind victims of crimes and their families, but says sentencing a person to death is “incompatible with the inalienable right to life, fails to provide effective deterrence to criminal behavior, and is ir…

USA | Judge postpones execution of inmate who was set to be first federal prisoner put to death in 17 years

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A federal judge postponed the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, a convicted killer who had been set to be the first federal inmate executed in over 17 years.
In a Friday filing — just three days ahead of Lee’s Monday execution date — Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, of the Southern District of Indiana, sided with the family of Lee’s victims, who had pleaded for a delay given the coronavirus pandemic.
Lee’s death was expected to usher in a new era for the death penalty in the United States, and three other men convicted for murdering children were slated to be killed in the coming weeks. The court’s order is a blow for the Trump administration, which announced last July that it would reinstate the federal death penalty after a nearly two-decade lapse. Attorney General William Barr first announced the death penalty was being revived last year — President Donald Trump had taken on the issue and called to “bring back the death penalty” — and set execution dates for Lee and four other men.
Lee, a …

Idaho Supreme Court rejects juvenility-related death row appeal

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The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man who says he was too young to be sent to death row after he was convicted of killing two people at the age of 19.
James Harvey Hairston was sentenced to death in the killing of an elderly couple during a robbery in 1996. 
At the time, the sentence made him the youngest inmate on Idaho's death row.
In his appeal, Hairston contended his sentence was unconstitutional because he was under 21 at the time of the conviction. 
He also said the court should have considered the fact that he was immature for for his age when deciding what sentence would be appropriate.
The Idaho Supreme Court unanimously rejected Hairston's claims on Monday, noting that while people under 18 can't be sentenced to capital punishment, the U.S. has no such prohibition for older defendants.
Justice Richard Bevan, writing for the unanimous court, said Hairston failed to show that evolving standards of decency prohibited imposing the death penalty fo…

Papua New Guinea | Criminals on death row to be executed

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Convicted criminals on death row will eventually be executed in compliance with the order of the court, according to Papua New Guinea Attorney-General and Justice Minister Davis Steven.
“Those who have already (been sentenced to receive the death penalty) would be subject to the court order and court orders are to be complied with,” he said.
“Executing the death penalty is not an option, it has to happen.”
Steven said the issue before the National Executive Council was the mode of execution.
“We have it in our laws but the only (problem is) the mode of execution,” he said.
“The NEC will review the law that imposes and recognises this penalty.
“That’s the question that’s going to the Constitutional Law and Reform Commission (CLRC).
“Those who have already been found guilty and condemned by a court order, (they) will have to be dealt with.
“Those who are now on the death penalty, who have exhausted their appeals and all the other processes, we have no choice, (but) to go ahead and exec…

Iran | Man Executed for Being an Alcoholic

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A prisoner was executed in Mashhad Central Prison for drinking alcohol yesterday. 
Once again, Iran Human Rights calls on the international community to pay more attention to the human rights abuses, and in particular, the execution of death sentences in Iran.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of IHR said: "with this execution, the Islamic Republic's judicial system has once again proven that its views are no different from those of ISIS."
According to IHR, the prisoner sentenced to death for "drinking alcohol for the 6th time" was executed in Mashhad Central Prison, at dawn yesterday (July 9, 2020).
Hossein Habibi Shahri, the prisoner's lawyer, told IHR: "My client was arrested in 2016 or 17. He was convicted of drinking alcohol for the sixth time. Of course, there was also the issue of driving without a license and being in possession of alcohol."
At the time of publishing this article, the execution has not been announced by local media or offi…

China | 'Coronavirus-rage' killer who stabbed two officials to death at a quarantine checkpoint is executed

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Killer Ma Jianguo, 24, attacked the pair with a folding knife in Yunnan in February. The victims were trying to prevent him from driving past a blockade with a van.
A Chinese man who stabbed two officials to death at a coronavirus travel checkpoint was executed on Thursday, the country's Supreme People's Court has revealed.
Ma Jianguo was believed to be the first criminal in China who has been executed for an epidemic-related offence. 
A local court in southern China carried out the execution after rejecting Jianguo's appeal against his death penalty in March. 
The Supreme People's Court said the circumstances of Jianguo's case were 'particularly vile', and its social damage, consequences and crime were 'extremely serious'.
In a public notice, the Supreme Court said it issued the execution order to the Intermediate People's Court of Honghe Prefecture, which fulfilled the instruction today.
Jianguo was driving a small van with friends to a villag…

California | COVID Cuts A Lethal Path Through San Quentin’s Death Row

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The old men live in cramped spaces and breathe the same ventilated air. Many are frail, laboring with heart disease, liver and prostate cancer, tuberculosis, dementia. And now, with the coronavirus advancing through their ranks, they are falling one after the next.
This is not a nursing home, not in any traditional sense. It is California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison, north of San Francisco. Its 670 residents are serial killers, child murderers, men who killed for money and drugs, or shot their victims as part of their wasted gangster lives. Some have been there for decades, growing old behind bars. One is 90, and more than 100 are 65 or older.
Executions have been on hold in California since 2006, stalled by a series of legal challenges. And they won’t resume anytime soon: In 2019, two months after taking office, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions and ordered that San Quentin’s death chamber be dismantled. But death has come to San Quentin nonetheless.
I…