Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants new punishment hearing for death row inmate

Convicted killer Jose Angel Moreno, who won a reprieve just hours before his scheduled execution last May, has now been granted a chance to get off death row.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday ordered a new punishment phase of his trial, allowing Moreno to present evidence of a troubled childhood and other mitigating issues that might have influenced a jury to give him a life sentence.

The appeals court also ordered further consideration of a similar appeal from death row inmate Ricky Eugene Kerr, who, like Moreno, claimed he was unfairly denied the chance to present evidence that might have spared his life.

The Moreno ruling was the latest reversal for a court that initially upheld his conviction and death sentence throughout several appeals, then stayed the execution, then agreed that U.S. Supreme Court rulings should give him another chance.

"One thing this case has taught me, strange things can happen," said Moreno's attorney, Scott Sullivan. "It's a thoughtful decision. They took the time to recognize a wrong and correct it."

The ruling does not overturn Moreno's conviction in the 1986 abduction and slaying of 18-year-old John Cruz, a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Evidence showed Cruz was handcuffed and blindfolded and then shot in the head. Moreno then made ransom calls demanding $30,000 from Cruz's family.

A Supreme Court decision last year found that jury instructions about mitigating evidence in three other Texas cases were improper. Those cases were tried about the same time as Moreno's and the jury instructions were similar. Those instructions have since been changed.

The Texas court voted 5-3 last year to reconsider his case, stopping a lethal injection by just a few hours.

Wednesday's ruling could open the door for Moreno to avoid execution, Sullivan said.

"Anytime you can go back to a jury, it opens up a lot of things," Sullivan said.

According to court records, Moreno was born with a deformed left ear, which required many surgeries to correct and prompted taunting by other children. His adoptive mother died when he was 15 and he was shuffled to other family members and in and out of different schools before he dropped out after the 8th grade.

Investigators also determined Moreno had a history of drug and alcohol use and tried at least 9 times to abduct Cruz. He finally succeeded the night of Jan. 21, 1986, by luring Cruz from his car by blocking the road to Cruz's home with large rocks. When Cruz got out to move them, Moreno ran up and pulled a gun on him.

Prosecutors said Moreno saw Cruz's family as a cash source after he learned they'd won a multimillion-dollar settlement of a lawsuit against a tire manufacturer stemming from the death of a relative in a traffic wreck.

Evidence showed while Moreno was awaiting trial, weapons were found in his jail cell, he tried to escape and he was adept at using paper clips to free himself and other inmates from handcuffs.

Kerr was sentenced to death in 1995 for the murder of his landlady and her 42-year-old son in San Antonio after they moved to evict him.

Source: Associated Press

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