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

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…

Saudi Arabia: death row Filipino may be saved by blood money

The Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) has announced that 37-year-old Rodelio “Don Don” Lanuza who is on death row and currently detained at the Dammam Central Jail could be saved from execution if blood money is paid to the family of his victim in two months' time.

“A member of the SRC told me on Monday that it took them six years to convince the aggrieved family to forgive Lanuza in exchange for blood money,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, told Arab News on Tuesday.

Lanuza was convicted of and detained in November 2000 for killing a Saudi national in what he claimed was self-defense.

Monterona added, however, that Lanuza is worried that the aggrieved family may change their mind unless the money is paid.

“On behalf of Lanuza and his wife and 2 kids, Migrante-Middle East is calling on President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino lll to raise the needed money,” he said.

He added that this is a good opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong in saying that he's not giving enough attention to the concerns of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

On Sunday, Migrante-Middle East gave a “failing grade to President Aquino for unsatisfactory rating in his first year in office."

Monterona said that on Monday, he received a text message from Lanuza saying that the “embassy seemed to be sleeping on his case.” Arab News called Ambassador-designate Ezzedin H. Tago to get the embassy’s side but he was out of the Kingdom.

Monterona also said the SRC told him that no embassy representative attended the meeting on Monday night, during which an update on the blood money would have been discussed.

Other OFWs on death row and whose cases being monitored by Migrante-Middle East include brothers Rolando and Edison Gonzales, Eduardo Arcilla, Joselito Zapanta, Carlito Rana.

Source: Arab News, June 29, 2011
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