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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

In Saudi Arabia, Countering Terrorism Becomes Chimera for Rights Abuses

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Saudi Arabia's drive to counter terrorism has become a convenient chimera to support crackdowns on legitimate public dissent and political or social activism of any kind, and the campaign has turned into an indiscriminate tool wielded to stigmatize critics of the state as terrorists. Those are our conclusions based on research and 2 comprehensive visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by one of us, Ben Emmerson, while he was serving as Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights While Countering Terrorism, an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The findings are outlined in detail in a country report issued last week with co-author, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, his successor as Special Rapporteur.
While expressing gratitude for the Kingdom's transparency and courteous, constructive and cooperative approach during the 2 visits, the report articulates grave and sustained concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, and…

Nebraska: Court orders correction department to release execution drug information

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LINCOLN, Neb. — As Nebraska gets ready for what could be the first execution in 20 years, a court is ordering the corrections department to release information on the purchase of the drugs to be used in carrying out the death penalty.
The ACLU initially sued the corrections department said it didn't comply with open records requests as it withheld the supplier of the drugs to be used in the execution. 
The District Court of Lancaster County ordered the Nebraska Department of Corrections to release records
In a statement, Executive Director for the ACLU of Nebraska Danielle Conrad said:
“Overall the ACLU is pleased with the court’s decision reaffirming Nebraska’s proud tradition of open government. We are reviewing the decision carefully to determine next steps. In the short term, we look forward to reviewing documents about the source of Nebraska’s execution drugs to learn more about the legal and policy issues involved in their acquisition. We appreciate that Nebraskans of goodw…

Thailand carries out first execution since 2009

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Thailand has carried out its first execution since 2009, the Department of Corrections said, killing a 26-year-old convicted murderer in a move condemned by Amnesty International as "deplorable".
Theerasak Longji was executed by lethal injection on Monday, six years after his conviction.
His death came as Thailand's coup leader-turned-premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha prepares to travel to the United Kingdom and France on a highly-publicised official visit.
But the trip will now likely see the former army chief face awkward questions over the use of the death penalty as well as Thailand's wider human rights record since he seized power in a 2014 coup.
"We still have the death sentence, we have not cancelled it yet," Tawatchai Thaikaew, deputy permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry, told AFP, adding that the execution on Monday was carried out "according to the law".
Thailand's Department of Corrections, which oversees one of the world's larg…

Iwao Hakamada, convicted of a quadruple murder in 1966, files appeal with Japan’s top court to seek retrial

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A man convicted in a 1966 quadruple murder case filed an appeal Monday with the Supreme Court to seek a retrial, his lawyers said, even though he was freed in 2014 after spending nearly half a century on death row.
Former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada, 82, has been struggling to clear his name over the murder in Shizuoka Prefecture, to which he had initially confessed, but the Tokyo High Court on June 11 scrapped a decision by the Shizuoka District Court to grant him a retrial.
Court judgments have been divided over the credibility of DNA tests on five items of clothing said to have been worn by the murderer. The district court concluded that the items were unlikely to be Hakamada’s based on an expert analysis provided by his defense team, whereas the high court said that analysis was unreliable.
Hakamada was freed by the district court in March 2014 after nearly 48 years in prison. In addition to ordering the reopening of the case, the court suspended his death sentence as well a…

“An act deserving of a bolt of lightning from a vengeful God”

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I am furious!
I am disgusted.
I am an American and this perfidy is being carried out in my name.
That the would-be ruler of this country could be so twisted as to conceive of a policy that forcibly separates children from their parents is an outrage, a barbarity, an atrocity. That his sinister, cretinous batboy could enact such a policy under the guise of protecting me from the purported ‘danger’ posed by impoverished people seeking a better life, or by claiming a need to winnow out “cheaters” from endangered human beings seeking asylum makes me vomitous. That the creature most responsible for crafting and ordering such an anti-human horror could be so shameless, so morally corrupt, as to attempt to justify it by citing part of a verse from the Bible invites the thought of tar, feathers and a convenient rail.
This is not leadership. This is calumny, it is an act deserving of a bolt of lightning from a vengeful God.
But evil is as evil does. Where is the moral courage of our uniformed…

U.S.: The Government Has No Plan for Reuniting the Immigrant Families It Is Tearing Apart

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A few days ago, Emily Kephart, a program coördinator at an immigrant-rights group called Kids in Need of Defense, set out to try to find a six-year-old Guatemalan girl who had been separated from her father after arriving in the United States, in May. The pair had been split up as a consequence of the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, which calls for the criminal prosecution of all migrants, including asylum seekers, who cross the border without turning themselves in to officials at so-called ports of entry. Now the father was in an immigration-detention facility in Arizona, awaiting deportation. He had no idea where his child was. Kephart was put on the case after the father called his family, back in a small town outside of Huehuetenango City, in Guatemala’s western highlands, and his family, in turn, contacted a local nonprofit that works with Kids in Need of Defense.
Every undocumented immigrant who enters government custody is assigned what’s called an …

Iran: Six executions in one day

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Iran Human Rights (Jun 18, 2018): Reports suggest that after the execution of Mohammad Salas, five other prisoners who were sentenced to death on murder charges were also hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison today. One of the prisoners was charged with the murder of an eight-month-old baby named Benita.
According to a close source, on the morning of Monday, June 18, six prisoners, including Mohammad Salas, were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison.
According to the official news agency of the Judiciary, Mizan, one of the prisoners who were executed today was charged with the murder of an eight-month-old baby named Benita Qal’enoiy during a car theft.
The state-run news agency, Javan, reported, “The defendant, Mohammad Vafaiy, stole a car that belonged to Benita Qal’enoiy’s father while the eight-month-old baby was in the back seat. Ultimately, he leaves the car in the street which leads to the baby’s death due to high temperature and lack of oxygen.”
The defendant said that he went to the police r…

Iran: Death sentence of Gonabadi Dervish Mohammad Salas carried out despite protests

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Iran Human Rights (June 18, 2018): Iran Human Rights (IHR) strongly condemns the execution of Mohammad Salas and calls on the European Union and the countries that have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran to play a more active role in preventing human rights abuses in Iran.
In spite of all civil society protests and despite the repeated warnings of human rights groups, the death sentence of Mohammad Salas was carried out early the morning of June 18. 
Noting that the death penalty in its entirety is inhumane, IHR insists that the principles of due process have not been implemented in the trial of this Gonabadi dervish.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR, said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran's judiciary not only failed to investigate the reports of torture under the interrogations and confessions, but also ignored the claims by Mr. Salas’ lawyer and family on the existence of new evidence proving his innocence demanding for new investigations. …