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

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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…

Behnoud Shojaee’s Lawyer Sentenced to One Year in Prison

Iran’s Revolutionary Court has sentenced human rights lawyer Mohammad Oliyaifard (left) to a one year prison term under the charge of “propaganda against the system” for objecting to the execution of young offenders. Oliyaifard is well known for taking on pro bono child execution cases, and he is one of the lawyer’s who was assigned to the case of executed child offender Behnoud Shojaee (Mohammad Mostafaei was the other lawyer).

Three meetings were held in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court to discuss Mohammad Oliyaifard’s case. In the first meeting, Oliyaifard filed an appeal that was not accepted by the court.

Afterwards, Mohammad Oliyaifard also met with the judiciary who explained to him that they don’t ”execute,” they ”retribute” [The term retribute is most likely used in the context that the regime is collecting the lives of those sentenced to execution as just payment for punishable crimes].

At the United Nations gathering in Geneva on February 15, 2010, delegates from the Islamic Republic repeatedly stressed to representatives from other countries that no one in Iran is imprisoned for defending human rights. Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, the director-general for political affairs of the Ministry of Interior, stressed, “We state explicitly that no one in Iran is arrested for being a human rights activist.”


Source: Persian2English, Feb. 21, 2010

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