California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Indonesia executes three convicted murderers

JAKARTA - Amid international calls for Indonesia to halt executions of death-row convicts, authorities have executed three condemned murderers, government officials said on Saturday.

The three were executed around midnight Friday at two different locations. The deaths are the latest in a series of capital punishments carried out in recent weeks in Indonesia.

In East Java, 59-year-old mother Sumiarsih and her 44-year-old son, Sugeng, were executed by police firing squads before midnight Friday in an open field outside the province's Sidoarjo prison, local prosecutors said.

"A team of doctors confirmed the two have died," said East Java chief prosecutor Purwosudiro.

The bodies of the convicts were placed into coffins and handed over to their relatives for burial, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Both Sumiarsih and Sugeng were sentenced to death in 1989 for murdering a marine family of five one year earlier. To cover it up, she and Sugeng threw the bodies into a gorge in Songgoriti, Malang, several kilometers from the scene of attack, but their crime was eventually uncovered.

Repeated requests for clemency by Sumiarsih and Sugeng were turned down by former Indonesian presidents Suharto, BJ Habibie, Aburrahman Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri and current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Another murderer on death-row, Usep, was executed by a firing squad in West Java's Banten province.

Usep was sentenced to death in March in Banten district court for killing eight people from May-July 2007.

The three executions bring to six the number executed this year by Indonesian authorities, despite strong opposition and repeated calls from domestic and international human-rights group for Jakarta to abolish capital punishment.

Last week, shamanistic serial killer Ahmad Suradji was executed in North Sumatra province. He was sentenced to death a decade ago for murdering 42 women in "black magic" rituals.

In late June, two Nigerians were executed after they were condemned to death after conviction on drug offences.

Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji said there were nearly 60 people on death row in Indonesia, including three Auver the failed "Bali Nine" plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin to Australia in 2005, as well as three Muslim militants sentenced to death for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people who were mostly foreign tourists.

Nearly half of those on death row are foreigners. Since 1979, Indonesia has executed as many as 59 people.

Executions in Indonesia are by firing squad, usually carried out at night in isolated and undisclosed locations. The prisoner is notified of his execution date at least 72 hours ahead.

Source: KhaleejTimes.com

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