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Showing posts from March, 2011

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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Kazakhstan towards definitive abolition

March 28, 2011: Kazakhstan took another step towards the abolition of the death penalty. The Presidential Commission for Human Rights in Astana asked the government to abolish capital punishment, press agency Interfax reported.
Commission head Tastemir Abishev, in announcing the request for abolition, reminded that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaiev imposed an unlimited moratorium on the death penalty from 2003 onwards and that Astana is an active member of the International Commission for the Abolition of the Death Penalty.
Since 2007, after a constititional modification, the death penalty in Kazakistan is only allowed for those who commit terrorist attacks that cause death and for serious war crimes.
Source: TMNews, March 28, 2011 _________________________ Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

Hamas court orders execution of 'collaborator'

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — A Gaza military court has condemned a man to death and sentenced another to forced labour for collaborating with Israel, the Hamas interior ministry said on Wednesday.
"The permanent tribunal on Tuesday sentenced the accused to death by hanging for treason and complicity with murder," the ministry said in a statement which identified the condemned man only as a resident of the central Gaza Strip.
The second man was sentenced to 15 years of forced labour, the statement said, adding that both judgements were subject to appeal.
In April, Gaza's Hamas rulers executed two alleged "collaborators" in the first executions to be carried out since the Islamist movement seized power in June 2007.
It was also the first time executions had been carried out in the coastal enclave for five years.
Palestinian law defines collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking as capital crimes.
It says the president must approve all execution orde…

Texas caught illegally dispensing lethal injection drugs under the name of a hospital that closed 30 years ago

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The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has today been reported to the US Attorney General Eric Holder for illegally purchasing and dispensing lethal injection drugs under the name of a hospital that closed in 1983.
In a letter to Holder and to the Texas Department of Safety, lawyers for death row prisoner Cleve Foster describe how the state's prison agency has been purchasing controlled substances – including drugs used for lethal injections – under a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration certificate assigned to Huntsville Unit Hospital, which has not existed for 30 years. "[A]s a result, we believe that TDCJ is unlawfully in possession of and unlawfully dispensing controlled substances," the lawyers write.
Under US drug laws, DEA registration numbers must be renewed every three years. Yet Foster's legal team, Maurie Levin and Sandra Babcock, have discovered that the TDCJ “has failed to advise the DEA for the past twenty-eight years of the fact th…

Death Penalty Opponents Assail Troy Davis Ruling

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Anti-death penalty activists criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject without comment death row inmate Troy Davis’ appeals seeking to delay his execution while he attempts to prove he was wrongfully convicted of killing a white police officer in 1991.
Without another appeal, commutation or pardon, Monday’s decision likely will allow the state of Georgia to set another execution date for Davis. There may be a slight delay in scheduling because of questions over the state’s supply of a key lethal injection drug.
Federal regulators seized the entire stockpile of sodium thiopental earlier this month after questions arose about the way the state obtained the drug.
“We are deeply shocked and disappointed because we think that [Davis] has made a compelling case of innocence and that there are too many questions to go forward with his execution,” Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Davis was convict…

URGENT APPEAL for Sherko Moarefi due to be executed in Iran on May 1, 2011

A Kurdish man, Sherko Moarefi, is scheduled to be executed on 1 May, in the western Iranian province of Kordestan. He was convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) for his purported membership of a proscribed Kurdish opposition group.
Sherko Moarefi was detained in October 2008, after which he was sentenced to death for “acting against national security” and “enmity against God”. In October 2009, he and two other Kurdish political prisoners, Ehsan Fattahian and Habibollah Latifi, were at imminent risk of execution after a judge in the capital of Kordestan, Sanandaj, ordered that they be executed. This was possibly a reprisal in response to a spate of attacks on Iranian officials in September 2009, for which the authorities blamed the Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish armed group, although the group denied responsibility. Ehsan Fattahian, was executed on 11 November 2009.
Sherko Moarefi’s death sentence was upheld first by an Appeal Court and then by the Supreme Cour…

Danish company won't withdraw US execution drug

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Danish company rejects capital punishment but won't withdraw US execution drug
A Danish company that unwittingly has become a key supplier of an execution drug in the U.S. says it's not going to withdraw or restrict it, even though it objects to the chemical being "misused" for capital punishment.
Lundbeck A/S is doing "all we can" to dissuade U.S. states from using pentobarbital for lethal injections, but won't pull it from the U.S. market, CEO Ulf Wiinberg told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Pentobarbital is a sedative with a range of medical uses, including treatment of epileptic seizures. It also is used to euthanize animals.
"Financially speaking this is not an important product for us and we thought about whether we should withdraw it and the reaction we got from doctors was that they didn't want us to withdraw the product," Wiinberg said at the drug maker's annual shareholders meeting in Copenhagen.
As the only company making the…

China executes 3 Filipinos despite Manila’s appeals for clemency

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China on Wednesday executed three Filipinos who were convicted of drug smuggling despite last-minute appeals for clemency and political concessions by Philippine leaders, officials said.
The three had not been told they would be executed Wednesday, although their sentences were promulgated early in the day, Philippine Consul Noel Novicio said. It was the first time that Philippine citizens were executed in China.
China normally does not announce executions. Amnesty International says China is the world's biggest executioner, with thousands of convicts killed every year. The Philippines has abolished the death penalty.
Mr. Novicio said Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Ramon Credo met their families early Wednesday before they were put to death by lethal injection in Xiamen city in southeastern China. The third Filipino, Elizabeth Batain, was allowed to meet with her relatives hours ahead of her execution in southeastern Shenzhen city, he said.
“They gave us only one hour (with her). They…

Yong Vui Kong's verdict scheduled

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The Singapore Court of Appeal will convene at 10am next Monday, 4th April to pass judgment on Vui Kong's appeal of the High Court's judgment on judicial review. As President SR Nathan has admitted that the powers to decide clemency for death row convicts rest on the Cabinet and not him, Vui Kong may have exhausted the last of his lifeline and his life may hinge on the decision of the CoA's verdict this coming Monday.
We have also heard that since Vui Kong's appeal started, there has been an unofficial temporary stay of execution for all prisoners on death row, pending the decision of the court on Yong's case. If the verdict goes south, then we may well see a Changi gallows bloodbath in a scale not seen since the Pulau Senang uprising in 1965 when 18 men convicted of murdering a prison warden were hanged in a single Friday morning,
To give Vui Kong, his family and his counsel moral support through this difficult period, please visit the official Save Vui Kong Facebo…

Arizona executes Eric John King

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FLORENCE, Ariz. — A man convicted of killing two people in a 1989 Phoenix convenience store robbery was executed Tuesday despite last-minute arguments by his attorneys who raised questions over one of the lethal injection drugs and said they had raised “substantial doubt” about his guilt.
Eric John King’s death at the state prison in Florence was the first execution in the state since October and one of the last expected to use a three-drug lethal injection cocktail.
The 47-year-old had maintained his innocence since his arrest and his lawyers fought until the last minute to get his sentence reversed or delayed.
Defense attorney Mike Burke said before the execution that he visited with King on Tuesday morning.
“Although he’s very calm, he continues to maintain his innocence,” Burke told The Associated Press. “He’s done what he can do. All he has left to do is maintain his dignity.”
The Arizona Supreme Court declined to stay King’s execution Monday after Burke argued that the state should w…

China turns down final plea for stay of execution of Filipino drug mules

China has turned down the Philippine government's final plea for another—perhaps permanent—stay of execution for convicted Filipino drug mules Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Elizabeth Batain and Ramon Credo.
Ethan Y. Sun, spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Makati City, on Monday told the Inquirer that Beijing's position on the issue had been "made clear" as early as last February when the Supreme People's Court in the Chinese capital sentenced the three convicts to death.
"The position of the Chinese side has been made clear on its judicial decision," Sun said.
Last Saturday, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao asked for understanding from the Philippine government and from Filipinos about the executions that he said would now have to take place under their laws.
On March 24, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced the executions will be carried out on Wednesday.
Villanueva, 32, and Credo, 42, will be executed in Xiamen, and Batain, 38, in Shenzhen, said the D…

High court rejects appeal from Troy Davis

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, clearing the way for the state to resume planning for Davis' execution.
The justices on Monday refused to order the federal appeals court in Atlanta to examine Davis' case and they declined to do so themselves.
In 2009, the high court ordered a federal judge to examine evidence Davis said would show he was innocent of the 1989 killing for which he has been sentenced to death.
But the judge decided last year that Davis had failed to clear his name.
At the moment, executions are on hold in Georgia after federal agents seized the state's supply of a key lethal injection drug.
Source: Associated Press, March 28, 2011

Appeal denied in high-profile US death row case
The US Supreme Court Monday rejected an appeal to death row inmate Troy Davis who is seeking a new trial after 7 of the 9 witnesses against him recanted their murder trial testimony.
The Supreme Court rejected a request for an appeal hearing …

Saudi man executed for murder

March 24, 2011: a Saudi citizen convicted of murdering another Saudi was executed in the city of Khamis Mushayt in the southern Asir province, the Ministry of Interior announced.
Saeed bin Safar Al-Humaid was convicted of stabbing Muhammad bin Saeed Abu Mahroos to death following an argument between the two, said a ministry statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. He was sentenced to death by the general court in Abha.
The execution was carried out after the Court of Cassation ratified the sentence.
Sources: Arab News, March 25, 2011 _________________________ Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

China/Philippines: Kin to hand-carry letter pleading for drug mule’s life

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The family of 1 of the 3 Filipino drug mules scheduled to die by lethal injection in China next week will hand-carry a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao begging for the life of 32-year-old Sally Ordinario-Villanueva when they fly to China on Sunday.
"We ... beg for her life and humbly ask that she be granted clemency by Your Excellency," the letter, addressed to Chinese President Hu Jintao, the letter reads.
"Your Excellency, death penalty is too severe a punishment for an unknowing housewife, merely used by criminal syndicates," it says.
The Ordinario family said they realize that the government's diplomatic appeals for clemency in behalf of the three Filipinos might already have been exhausted.
"This appeal is not a diplomatic move ... This time we are making a personal appeal by the family," said the Ordinarios' lawyer Jeremiah Belgica, who called a press conference at the Manila Yacht Club on Saturday.
Edith Ordinario, Sally's mother, said …

Texas: House Committee Set to Hear Repeal Bill

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(Austin, Texas) — On Tuesday, March 29, 2011 the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill (HB) 819, which calls for the repeal of the death penalty in Texas. The hearing will take place at the State Capitol in the John H. Reagan Building (JHR) 120 (upon final adjournment/recess of the House).
“National momentum is clearly shifting in the direction of abolition,” said State Representative Jessica Farrar, the author of HB 819, along with State Representatives Marisa Marquez and Alma Allen. “Earlier this month, Illinois became the 16th state, and the 4th in recent years, to abandon the death penalty. In addition, elected officials in at least 12 other states are considering repeal legislation this year. This hearing provides members of the Texas House of Representatives with the opportunity to engage in open dialogue about the flaws and failures of our state’s capital punishment system.”
Rep. Farrar first introduced this bill – which strikes the death…

Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck votes to continue supplying pentobarbital for lethal injections

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Danish manufacturer Lundbeck has today missed a major and historic opportunity to change the face of the U.S. capital punishment system. By choosing not to put measures in place to prevent its drugs being used to kill people, the company has opened its doors to executioners all over the country.
Lundbeck and its shareholders will now be responsible for potentially hundreds of deaths, as executing states snap up Lundbeck’s pentobarbital, a dangerous and experimental lethal injection drug, to kill prisoners.
Recent shortages of the anaesthetic sodium thiopental have forced prisons in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio to abandon the standard three-drug protocol used by the majority of executing states, turning instead to pentobarbital as an untested alternative. As the only licensed supplier of pentobarbital in the United States, Lundbeck has the power to halt countless executions by putting in place ‘end-user agreements’ with its customers. Such agreements would stop intermediaries se…

Arizona: Execution-drug import papers raise questions

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3 shipments of drugs imported by the Arizona Department of Corrections were represented to U.S. customs and Food and Drug Administration officials as being for use on animals despite being intended for use in inmate executions.
According to documents obtained by The Arizona Republic under the federal Freedom of Information Act, 2 batches of the anesthetic sodium thiopental and 1 batch of the paralytic-drug pancuronium bromide were brought into the country from Britain last September and October and were described on federal import paperwork as being for "Animal (Food Producing)."
Thiopental, a painkiller, is used in executions to sedate the condemned convict, while pancuronium bromide renders the convict unable to move. A third drug, potassium chloride, is then injected to stop the heart.
The source of thiopental has been a matter of legal and political controversy in several U.S. states and European countries.
Defense attorneys have raised questions about whether the drugs were…