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Showing posts from September, 2008

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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Troy Davis case decision expected by Oct. 6

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English translation:
Second eleventh hour stay for Troy Davis
- New orders, Mr. Davis. Nothing's for sure yet. In the meantime we'll keep you in here.
- For lunch, you may have the last meal you turned down yesterday.

When the U.S. Supreme Court meets Monday to decide Troy Anthony Davis’ fate, its nine justices face a fairly straightforward question: Is there sufficient doubt about Davis’ guilt to warrant further scrutiny of his case?

Davis needs four justices to vote “yes.” Otherwise, his execution, halted by the high court less than two hours before it was to be carried out Tuesday evening, will be rescheduled. The court is expected to announce its decision Oct. 6.

“The court can grant a stay and then refuse to hear a case, but they don’t issue the stay lightly,” said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who specializes in arguing cases before the high court. “They are thinking about it hard.”

The stay infuriated the family of slain Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The…

U.S.: Price isn't right for the death penalty

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As the country's economic woes continue to mount, frightening many Americans, it has become clear that the United States simply cannot afford capital punishment.

The death penalty is the revenue-guzzling SUV to the cost-efficient hybrid of life without parole. Researchers all over the country are crunching the numbers and coming to the same conclusion - the death penalty is far too expensive.

In its recently released report, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice found that California's current death penalty system costs $137 million annually compared with $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty. The commission also reported that California's system is "dysfunctional" and that it will cost an additional $200 million a year to fix it.

In January 2008, New Jersey became the 1st state to abolish the death penalty in 40 years.

The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission's report included the costs of a capital punishment system…

Texas: prosecutor's intimacy may affect more than a single death row case

Recent confirmation of a long-rumored romance between a former Collin County district attorney and a former judge could lead to allegations of unfair trials in hundreds of cases, but legal experts differ over what should happen next.

In court depositions sought by attorneys trying to get a new trial for death row convict Charles Dean Hood, Judge Verla Sue Holland and prosecutor Tom O'Connell reportedly admitted to a years-long affair that Mr. Hood's attorneys say prevented him from getting a fair trial in 1990.

At least one other man, Timothy David Nixon, was found guilty of murder while Judge Holland was on the bench and Mr. O'Connell tried the case. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison for allegedly killing his mother.

Some legal ethicists say prosecutors have a responsibility to identify cases from the years the two held office and ensure that the convicted have their day in court. Others doubt that is the prosecutors' role.

"They do have a proactive responsibili…

French Senator Crusades Against Death Penalty

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The United States must follow the lead of European countries and outlaw the death penalty, French Senator and former French Minister of Justice Robert Badinter said yesterday as he brought his crusade against capital punishment to Gaston Hall.

The 80-year-old outspoken critic of the death penalty and former minister responsible for its elimination in France outlined his opposition to capital punishment, noting that European nations are far ahead of the curve on this issue.

"Europe has freed itself completely of the death penalty. For men of my generation, this is a most remarkable moral progress," he said.

Badinter said that one of the most significant points against the death penalty is its racial bias.

"Racial prejudice does exist," he said. "In my country, the number of North African or colored people executed for the same crime was 3 times higher than for the others."

According to a report from Amnesty International, 90 countries have abolished the death p…

Zapatero calls for moratorium on the death penalty at the United Nations

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The Spanish Prime Minister also called for the Millenium Objective goals to be met.

Speaking to the United Nations in New York yesterday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero, has called for a universal moratorium on the death penalty in 2015 as a first step towards its complete abolition.

This was Zapatero's 2nd statement to the United Nations, the 1st was in 2004, and he spent most of his time urging the international community to comply with the Millennium Development Objectives, which has the target of reducing extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

Source: Typically Spanish

Troy Davis Deserves a New Trial

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The Supreme Court will decide Monday whether it will take Davis' case. If it doesn't, he likely will be executed, despite evidence of his innocence.

Troy Anthony Davis was scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday. Two hours before the state of Georgia was to execute him, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay until Monday. It had earlier agreed to hear Davis' case on Sept. 29, but Georgia set his execution date six days before the hearing.

Davis was charged with killing Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, in Savannah, Ga., in 1989. Davis had gone to the aid of a homeless man who was being pistol-whipped in a parking lot. Seeing the gun, he said he fled. MacPhail, working security nearby, intervened next, and was killed. Davis, an African-American, claimed his innocence, but was found guilty and sentenced to death. Since his conviction, seven of the nine non-police witnesses have recanted their testimony, alleging police coercion and intimidation in obtaining their…

Iranian parliament approves law on apostasy calling for death penalty

Iranian parliament approved the law calling for a mandatory death sentence for apostates, or those who leave Islam.

APA reports that members of the parliament citing to sharia (Islamic law) made decision on death sentence for men abjuring Islam and life sentence for women. According to other points of the new law, extrasensory individuals, fortune-tellers and homosexuals will also be sentenced todeath. This grave punishment is applied to men and women abjuring Islam. 196 parliamentarians voted for the law, 7 against, 2 abstained. European missionary organizations condemned the decision of Iranian parliament.

2 men converted to Christianity were arrested in Shiraz in May this year. Islamic Revolutionary Court of Iran demands death sentence for them.

Source: Azeri Press Agency

Oklahoma executes Jessie James Cummings

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A man described by investigators as a cold and evil man was put to death Thursday at 6:11 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Jessie James Cummings, 52, was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the 1991 Coal County murder of his 11-year-old niece, Melissa Moody.

Cummings claimed that he was victim of a plot between his 2 wives and was innocent of the crimes.

Cummings is the 2nd Oklahoma inmate put to death this year. Terry Lyn Short was executed in June for an Oklahoma County firebomb killing.

At the time of the slaying, Cummings was married to 2 women, Juanita and Sherry Cummings. Both women lived with Cummings and had children with him. Prosecutors said Cummings controlled the women and urged them to kill his sister, Melissa's mother. Judy Moody Mayo, 42, was shot by Juanita as she sat in the living room of the Cummings' home. Jessie Cummings was in Oklahoma City with his father at the time of his half-sister's murder. Mayo's body was found near Atoka Lake …

Western Lawyers Say Iraq Discarded Due Process in Hussein Trial

CAMBRIDGE, England — Nearly two years after an Iraqi court sentenced Saddam Hussein to death, new disclosures by Western lawyers who helped guide the court have given fresh ammunition to critics who contend that he was railroaded to the gallows by vengeful officials in Iraq’s new government.

These lawyers say the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, forced the resignation of one of five judges in the trial only days before the court sentenced Mr. Hussein. The purpose, the lawyers say, was to avert the possibility that judges who were wavering would spare Mr. Hussein the death penalty and sentence him to life imprisonment instead.

The disclosures, made amid a steep decline in violence in Iraq, seem likely to raise fresh questions about the degree to which the Bush administration has succeeded in promoting democratic principles, including the rule of law, among Iraq’s new leaders. Inevitably, they will also lend new momentum to die-hard Baathists who regard Mr. Hussein as a martyr.

With 2 Hours to Spare, Justices Stay Execution

ATLANTA — The United States Supreme Court issued a stay of execution on Tuesday for a Georgia inmate convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, two hours before his scheduled death by lethal injection.

The inmate, Troy A. Davis, 39, was convicted of murdering Mark MacPhail, a Savannah police officer. The Supreme Court, which issued the stay without explanation, will decide Monday whether to grant Mr. Davis’s appeal for a new trial.

The case has drawn national and global attention, largely because seven of the nine witnesses at Mr. Davis’s trial later recanted their testimony, with two saying they felt pressured by the police to testify against Mr. Davis. Prosecutors presented no physical evidence, the murder weapon was never found, and three witnesses said another man later admitted to the killing.

Several world leaders, including former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI have challenged the fairness of Mr. Davis’s conviction. But prosecutors hav…

Iranian President: Yes, when gays are publicly hanged, nobody interferes

Iran President Ahmadinejad was interviewed by Larry King last night, where he said he did think the US or Israel would make the "big mistake" of attacking. Then King steered the conversation to gays and human rights. (Around the 1:40 mark.)

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): What do you mean by human rights problems?

KING: People protesting that they don't have the same rights as other people? Homosexuals -- you said last year, you denied there were homosexuals. There's homosexuals everywhere.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): I said it is not the way it is here. In Iran this is considered a very -- obviously most people dislike it. And we have actually a law regarding it and the law is enforced. It is a law that was passed. It was legislated. And it is an act that is against human principles. A lot of things can happen. It can cause psychological problems, social problems that affect the whole society. Remember that God rules are to improve human life. In our religion, …

Florida executes man who killed 2 young sisters

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has executed a man convicted of shooting and killing two young sisters after he raped and shot their mother.

Thirty-four-year-old Richard Henyard was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m. Tuesday. He had been condemned for the deaths of 7-year-old Jamilya Lewis and her 3-year-old sister, Jasmine.

The slayings occurred in January 1993 when Henyard and a 14-year-old accomplice carjacked Dorothy Lewis and her daughters outside a grocery store in the central Florida town of Eustis.

Henyard, then 18, raped Lewis and then shot her multiple times at close range, but she survived. The daughters were then shot in the head after they cried out for their mother.

Source: Associated Press

Iran: Death penalty for man accused of homosexuality

Nemat Safavi, arrested almost three years ago at the age of 16, has been condemned to death by a court in Ardebil, in the northwest Iranian Azerbaijan region.

Nemat has not killed anyone, stolen anything or even carried out any political activism.

Nemat has been accused of having homosexual relations.While that was not stated during the court case, he was accused of "sexual relations that were not admitted".

A year ago, on a visit to Colombia University in New York, Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "there were no homosexuals" in Iran in response to a question from a student.

Source: AKI News

Troy Davis may be innocent

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If Troy Anthony Davis had occupied a higher rung on the social ladder, he probably would not have been convicted of murder in the August 1989 shooting death of a Savannah police officer. If Davis were a doctor or lawyer or college professor, it’s unlikely police would have targeted him on the word of a small-time thug.

But Davis isn’t a member of the tony set; he is neither educated nor affluent. He grew up in a tidy if modest neighborhood with a father who worked in law enforcement, but by adulthood, he had acquired a petty rap sheet. At the time of the tragic murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, Davis was working for meager wages and looking for a better job.

So when Sylvestor Nathaniel “Redd” Coles coolly walked into a police station hours after the murder, accompanied by a lawyer, and identified Davis as the shooter, Savannah police had no trouble taking his word for it, even though Coles had a rap sheet of his own. They set out to collect evide…

Supreme Court issues stay of execution for Davis

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m.

Davis’ family and supporters, who for years have pressed for a new trial on claims Davis is innocent, broke into tears and song when they learned the high court had at least temporarily postponed the execution.

Just a few hours earlier, the mother and sister had given Davis what they thought could be their final good-byes at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m.

Annelie Reaves, MacPhail’s sister, said the victim’s family was furious but would wait for the execution to be rescheduled.

“It should ha…

Georgia death row inmate presses innocence

One by one, 9 witnesses took the stand against Troy Davis to say he was the man who gunned down an off-duty Savannah police officer.

In 1991, their testimony helped send the Georgia man to death row. However, in the years since, 7 of the 9 have recanted their testimony and his attorneys claim others say another man pulled the trigger.

A roster of big-name supporters, including former President Jimmy Carter and South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have taken up his cause. They insist that the 39-year-old Davis, who is set to be executed Tuesday night, deserves a new trial.

Last-minute appeals from condemned inmates are nothing unusual. However, experts say so much attention is being lavished on Davis because the case hinges on the most fundamental question in the criminal justice system: "Did he do it?"

Appeals usually try to expose legal technicalities, not actual claims of innocence, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Death Penalty Informa…

Protests planned against Davis’ execution

As Troy Anthony Davis waits to hear whether the U.S. Supreme Court will stay his execution Tuesday night, death-penalty opponents planned protests and vigils across the state.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 7 p.m., even though questions linger as to whether he was MacPhail’s killer.

Since Davis’ trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimony. But the state Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency to Davis.

Chatham County prosecutors say they are certain that Davis fired the fatal shots into MacPhail, before the officer could draw his gun. MacPhail, 27, a father of two, was working off-duty as a security guard when he was gunned down in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah.

Today, a number of groups plan to picket Rainbow Medical Associates’ offices in Jonesboro. Rainbow Medical provides medical personnel for…

Interview With an Executioner

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Jerry Givens (pictured) spent 17 years as a professional killer. From 1982 to 1999, he killed 62 people.

He was never punished. His work was paid for by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As the state's chief executioner, Givens pushed the buttons that administered lethal doses of electricity to the condemned. He could even choose how many volts to administer. And he is the first to admit that it was largely guesswork.

"If he was a small guy, I didn't give that much. You try not to cook the body, you know. I hate to sound gross,'' he told ABC News in a rare interview.

Only a handful of executioners in America have ever spoken publicly about their experiences, and fewer, if any, have revealed the emotional toll the job can take on a person or the mind-set of the man behind the proverbial mask.

Givens told ABC News that his experiences in the death chamber have caused him to change course and oppose the death penalty.

Givens defies the stereotype of the cold-souled executioner…

Yemen: two executions

September 17, 2008: two men were executed in Yemen for drug trafficking and murder. At the Central Prison in Sana'a, a death penalty was executed on the Pakistani drugs trafficker Birkhan Afridibar Hussein, aged 50, according to the sentence issued against him by the Penal Court and approved by President of the Republic.

The accused convicted was arrested on January 22, 2004.

Another death penalty was also executed on the Yemeni Hussein Hadi Saleh al-Tam who was convicted of a killing crime which led to the death five security individuals.

The convicted was arrested on April 10, 2004.

Source: Hands Off Cain

Malaysia: man sentenced to hang

September 21, 2008: the High Court of Malaysia sentenced a self-employed man to hang after finding him guilty of murdering a blacksmith, but freed two of his friends of the same charge.

Justice Datuk Wan Adenan Muhamad said the court did not have any option except sending Khairul Anuar Zakaria, 48, to the gallows as he had failed to cast reasonable doubts to the prosecution's case.

Khairul was convicted of murdering Chuah Leng Hai, 38, at the backroom of house No. 46, Taman Datuk Kumbar, between 5am and 6.35am on June 4, 2001.

The judge said: "According to the first accused's testimony, the second accused (Ariffin Ahmad, 47) and third accused (Muhammad Zaidi Mohd Salleh, 42), were not involved because they were asleep during the incident so there is reasonable doubt and they are acquitted and discharged."

The prosecution was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Murtazadi Amran while G. Ravishankar represented Khairul and Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid for Ariffin and Azidi.

Bef…

State supreme court denies Davis’ stay

Troy Anthony Davis now sits where he was little more than a year ago, hours away from being put to death by lethal injection.

In July 2007, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles stepped in and stayed Davis’ execution less than 24 hours before it was to be carried out. But on Monday, the board rejected pleas to reconsider its recent decision to deny clemency on grounds there is too much doubt as to whether Davis shot and killed a Savannah police officer.

Also Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court denied Davis’ request for a stay of execution. Justice Robert Benham cast the lone dissent.

Davis’ last hope to avoid his 7 p.m. Tuesday execution now appears to rest with the U.S. Supreme Court, where his lawyers have also asked for a stay of execution.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. But since Davis’ 1991 trial, seven key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony. Read more>>>

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mond…

Parole board says it won’t reconsider Davis’ execution

The state parole board should reconsider its decision to deny clemency to Troy Anthony Davis and those hired to carry out his death by lethal injection should call in sick, advocates for Davis said Monday.

Davis, sentenced to death for killing a Savannah police officer in 1989, is scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday said it would not reconsider its Sept. 12 decision to deny clemency to Davis.

Two hours before the parole board released its statement, death-penalty opponents and members of clergy called for a halt to Davis’ execution, saying there is too much doubt as to whether he fired the fatal shots. Seven of nine key prosecution witnesses who implicated Davis in the killing have since recanted their testimony.

The turn-about of testimony has attracted international attention to the case, with requests for clemency from Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter.

“Justice and due process deserve a real chance in…

Jimmy Carter Calls for Clemency for Troy Davis

Atlanta, Sept.20, 2008 -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called today on the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to reverse its decision to deny clemency to Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for an alleged murder of a Savannah police officer in 1991. "This case illustrates the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "Executing Troy Davis without a real examination of potentially exonerating evidence risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice. The citizens of Georgia should demand the highest standards of proof when our legal system condemns on our behalf a man or woman to die."

Background

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the clemency appeal despite serious new doubts about Mr. Davis' participation in the murder of which he was accused. Serious flaws during Davis' trial and post-conviction phases warrant reconsideration of his …

Indonesia: Experts Differ Views on Death Penalty

Experts from various disciplines disapproved of death penalty by a firing squad, but disagreed among themselves on what the best form of death penalty should be.

Surgeon Jose Rizal said that shooting at the heart may not be accurate. "An accurate shot causes instant death, but it if misses, it takes time to die," he told the Constitutional Court during a judicial review session on the death penalty in Jakarta yesterday.

Father Charlie Burrows, a priest who stood by condemned narcotics case inmate, Nigerian Hansen Anthony Nwaolisa in Nusakambangan Prison, Central Java last June, said the inmate did not instantly die after the shot. Hansen was in pain for about seven minute prior to his death. The doctor then announced his death 3 minutes later. "So it took him 10 minutes to die," Father Burrows said.

Anaesthetics expert Sun Sunatrio said death by injection was the most 'humane' way to die, although death takes longer and errors in the injecting could occur. …

Troy Davis: Act NOW!

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Troy Anthony DavisAn Innocent Man on Georgia's Death RowDeath Warrant Issued for Sept 23, 2008: ACT NOW!Troy Davis Denied Clemency: Execution Scheduled for Sept 23, at 7:00PM
Please Send Letters for Reconsideration to: Georgia Parole Board Fax Numbers:
(404)-651-8502 (404)-651-6670; (404)651-8502; (404) 651-5282; (404) 463-6627 Read letter from Martina for more things to do: Sign the Amnesty Petition
Sign Death Penalty Focus Petition
Sign the ACLU Petition

Rosenbergs' sons admit father was spy

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After years of professing their parents' innocence, the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are acknowledging that their father was a spy.

The about-face came after their father's co-defendant, Morton Sobell, admitted for the 1st time that he and Julius Rosenberg stole nonatomic military and industrial secrets for the Soviet Union.

The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953 for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Since then, decoded Soviet cables have appeared to confirm that Julius was a spy, but doubts have remained about Ethel's involvement.

The 91-year-old Sobell, who was convicted with the Rosenbergs on espionage charges in 1951 and released from prison in 1969, had maintained his innocence until last week, when he told The New York Times he turned over military secrets to the Soviets during World War II.

"I don't have any reason to doubt Morty," the Rosenbergs' son Michael Meeropol told the Times in Wednesday's editions.

Michael was 10 years old whe…

Texas exonerates death row inmate after DNA tests

September 18, 2008: a man on death row in Texas for 14 years for the murder of a young girl has been exonerated after DNA tests, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) reported.

Michael Blair, sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of seven-year-old Ashley Estell, had his capital murder charges dismissed by the Collin County court after hair used as evidence to convict him, was shown to belong to somebody else.

"The Plano police department is now reinvestigating the 15-year-old case to find the true killer," the center said in a statement.

"The DNA evidence that cleared Blair indicates that another man, now deceased, is a plausible suspect in the girl's death."

Blair, who remains in prison for convictions in other crimes, is the fourth person to be exonerated from death row in 2008, and brings the total number of death row exonerations to 130 since 1973, according to an "innocence list" compiled by the DPIC.

Sources: DPIC, Dallasnews.com, 18/09/2008

Two Indonesians, Malaysian get death sentence for drug dealing

Jakarta - An Indonesian district court has sentenced two Indonesians and a Malaysian to death for illegally distributing ecstasy pills in the country, media reports said Friday

The West Jakarta district court on Thursday found the three, identified as Jat Lie Chandra, 39, Christian, 49, and a Malaysian Lim Jit Wee alias Kim, 42, guilty for violating the country's tough anti-narcotic laws for illegally keeping, storing and distributing ecstasy pills.

Chief Judge Hesmu Purwanto said in the court ruling that the defendants received such a stiff sentence because they had large amounts of ecstasy pills and intended to distribute them in the country.

The three were arrested during a raid in Jakarta in November 2007, in which police confiscated nearly 500,000 ecstasy pills. In addition, the police also seized 2.5-billion rupiah (268,000 dollars), 60,000 US dollars and 168,000 Hong Kong dollars in cash.

Indonesian police at the time said the seizure was one of the largest in a single drug rai…

Why I watch people die

In America, we love to kill people. Sometimes it is legal, more often it is not. But, legal or not, the killing is steady. Sometimes it is in self-defense, sometimes it is in a frenzy of rage or fear, and sometimes it is premeditated, planned for hours and days and months in advance.

At night in this desert metropolis, I sit with a glass of wine, looking out at the hot darkness, watching the moths swarm around the porch lights, and when I hear the gunshots I think about the people who pull the triggers. I wonder what they will eat for breakfast in the morning, who they’ll wake up with, who they’ll never think of shooting.

It goes like this: the darkness is shattered by the gunshots, and then the police helicopter—the ghetto bird—hangs noisily above. If the cops come, it is said, it usually means someone was hit. The cops deny this, but it is said that there are so many shots fired that they can’t afford to respond to them all.

And sometimes it goes like this: a man is locked …

Iran: 500 prisoners on death row in the holy city of Mashhad

Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, Mashhad's prosecutor said that "500 prisoners are facing the gallows." This is the 2nd time in less than a month that shocking news of increasing number of death row inmates surface in Iran.

The 1st was that of the 150 prisoners soon to face gallows in the southern city of Dashtistan in the coastal province of Bushehr.

Colonel Ardeshir Gholami, chief of the State Security Forces (SSF) mullahs' suppressive police -- in Dashtistan in an interview with the state-run daily Payam Asaloyeh, stated while defending the public execution of 4 prisoners in a Borazjan's city squares also in Bushehr, on July 10, that "the people of this city have more than 150 murderers in jail facing the gallows. The debate is on publicizing the executions. People will see that there is order in the country and that the law will punish whoever commits a murder."

While the state-run media is calling public executions a violation of an order issued by Mahmoud Has…

Argentina definitively abolishes the death penalty

The country has ratified the UN's Second Optional Protocol, which makes it impossible to reinstate the death penalty. The World Coalition is currently campaigning in favour of that international treaty.

On September 2, Argentina ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The country had signed the treaty in December 2006 (photo). The ratification means that Argentina is unreservedly committed to abolishing the death penalty in a total and definitive manner for all crimes.

The country was already a good way on the road to abolition as it had got rid of capital punishment for common crimes and article 18 of its constitution states the "total abolition of the death penalty for political reasons." Last August, the reform of the Military justice code led to the deletion of all references to the death penalty for military crimes.

Last step

Argentina took the last step by ratifying…