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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…

First Woman To Be Executed in the United Arab Emirates?

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) upheld the death sentences of a woman and three men who were convicted for crimes they committed as minors. The four individuals, Khawla, Fahd, Mukhtar, Abdullah Hussein, are now waiting in Sharjah central prison for confirmation as to whether they will face execution by firing squad.

Khawla, her alleged boyfriend, Fahd and 2 others had been sentenced to death in 2003 for premeditated murder of Khawla's husband in 2003. At the time of the killing, Khawla, Mukhtar and Hussein were 17 years old. Khawla confessed to the police at the day of the crime and the others arrested the next day.

Under the UAE domestic law the family of a victim can accept retribution or 'blood money' and pardon those founded guilty for murder. In UAE the amount of the ‘blood money’ is fixed at approximately $45,000. The parents of the victim have refused to pardon the offenders and seek capital punishment for them. The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights and Amnesty International opposes it under all circumstances.

Please go to http://ecomplaint.moj.gov.ae/WComplaintEnglish.aspx and write to Dr. Hadef bin Jua’an Al Dhaheri, minister of justice, asking to commute all the 4 death sentences.

Source: Amnesty International; Alireza Azizi, Country Specialist for United Arab Emirates, contributed to this post, April 27, 2010

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