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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…

Palestine: Hamas pushes for Sharia punishments

December 24, 2008: The Hamas parliament in the Gaza Strip voted in favour of a law allowing courts to mete out sentences in the spirit of Islam, the London-based Arab daily Al Hayat reported.

According to the bill, approved in its second reading and awaiting a third reading before the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as the Palestinian constitution demands, courts will be able to condemn offenders to a plethora of violent punitive measures in line with Sharia Law.

Such punishments include whipping, crucifixion and hanging.

The bill is made up of 214 subsections. Section 59 states that "any Palestinian found guilty of raising a weapon against Palestine in favor of the enemy; countering Palestine's interests in a negotiation with a foreign government; and placing Palestine's existence in danger by committing an act of aggression against a foreign country... will be sentenced to death."

A similar fate awaits anyone found guilty of the following: "Joining a foreign army fighting Palestine or facilitating such action; demoralizing the Palestinian people to any of its resistance movements; spying on Palestine or engaging in espionage during wartime."

According to the report, any Palestinian caught drinking or selling wine would suffer 40 lashes at the whipping post if the bill passes. Thieves caught red-handed would lose their right hand.

Source: Ynetnews.com, Jpost.com, 24/12/2008

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