“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

Australian man Michael Sacatides jailed for 18 years in Indonesia

Australian man Michael Sacatides has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of smuggling 1.7kg of methamphetamine into Bali.

The panel of judges presiding over the case in the Denpasar District Court today found the 43-year-old guilty, while also increasing the sentence by 2 years compared to a request entered by prosecutors 2 weeks ago.

He had initially been facing the possibility of a death sentence for smuggling $A390,000 worth of methamphetamine, also known as ice, into Bali from Thailand.

Sacatides was arrested at Bali's international airport on October 1 last year when customs officers noticed the drugs concealed in a hidden compartment in the suitcase he was carrying when he arrived on a flight from Bangkok.

The kickboxing trainer from Sydney's west has always maintained his innocence, telling investigators at the time of his arrest that he had borrowed the luggage from a man known as Akaleshi Tripathi, whom he knew from Bangkok, where he had been living and working for almost 2 years.

Tripathi, alias Peter, has never been found.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, April 25, 2011
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