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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…

Police Killer Put to Death in East China

A man who killed 4 policemen and a civilian in east China's Shandong Province early this year was executed on Tuesday.

Liu Jianjun, 51, was given the death penalty for his crimes, which included murder and illegal possession of guns and ammunition, according to the verdict issued on March 14 by the Intermediate People's Court of Tai'an City in Shandong.

Liu Jianjun and his brother Liu Lumin shot and killed the police who entered their home to question them over the murder of a man who died on Dec. 29, 2010.

The duo carried out the shooting with a homemade pistol and a double-barreled shotgun in Tai'an on Jan. 4.

After gunning down the officers, the 2 men fled the scene, hijacking four cars and shooting two drivers before their car collided with a police wagon.

The brothers continued to fire after police cornered them.

Liu Lumin, who was wounded in the shootout, shot and killed himself and Liu Jianjun was captured while attempting suicide.

On April 13, the Higher People's Court of Shandong Province rejected the appeal of Liu Jianjun and supported the death penalty issued by the Intermediate People's Court of Tai'an.

Liu Jianmin, 56 and another brother, was also sentenced in March to life imprisonment for his role as an accessory in the December 2010 murder.

Source: CRIEnglish.com, April 26, 2011
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