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Oklahoma | I went inside death row, what I saw made me sick - Henry McLeish

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The evolution of civilised behaviour, indicating a retreat from barbarism, has become a distinctive feature of most modern western democracies, but America often disappoints, retaining practices that shock, sadden, and in my case, nearly made me physically sick.
My visit to death row at McAlester State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, brought home to me, how the final setting for government sponsored killings, combined with execution by lethal injection, brought a brutal end to lives. And made a mockery of the idea of justice, offering instead a violent, humiliating, and inhuman act of revenge, with no serious pretence that any of these end of life dramas, provide any deterrence in criminal justice terms. Formerly known as “Indian Territory”, and home of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, with a population of over 4 million, became a state in 1907. Located in America’s “Bible” belt, where there is a strong fundamentalist Christian tradition and powerful Republican politics, Oklahoma remains a pro…

Japan: record number of death sentences in 2007

January 13, 2008: The number of people sentenced to death in Japanese courts in 2007 rose to 46, the highest in nearly three decades, local media reported.

There were at least 106 death-row inmates in 2007, a record high since 1980 when such data first became available, Kyodo News agency reported. The number of death sentences ordered by Japanese courts last year rose to 46 from 44 in 2006.

Nine executions were carried out in 2007, the most in a year since 1980, Kyodo said.

Source: Kyodo News, 13/01/2008)

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