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…

Christmas Remembrance: Asia Bibi and Yousef Nadarkhani still facing the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy

(...) We may also want to remember particularly at this time two additional people, Asia Bibi and Yousef Nadarkhani, whose imprisonment and death sentences crystallize the situation of many in the church.

Though the Iranian government denies it, Pastor Nadarkhani continues to face the death penalty for apostasy, that is, for having become a Christian. In a very unusual move, probably triggered by international attention to the case, the courts — after pronouncing a sentence of death — have twice referred the case to Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s “Supreme Leader.” As yet, Khamenei has issued no decision. Christian Solidarity Worldwide states that it has received unconfirmed reports that any execution may be delayed for up to a year to allow time to convince Pastor Nadarkhani to renounce his faith.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, still faces the death penalty for allegedly blaspheming Mohammed. Punjab governor Salman Taseer and Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were both killed this past year for defending her and opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The Fides news agency reports that she needs medical care to ward off mental illness. An international delegation from the Masihi Foundation, overseeing Bibby’s legal and material assistance, visited her on December 19 in the prison in Sheikpura, where she has been held for more than a year, and is currently in isolation. They report that she had not been allowed to bathe for more than two months, could not stand on her own, appeared confused, and was afraid to accept the water they offered her to drink.

Source: National Review, Paul Marshal, December 24, 2011

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Nov 18, 2011
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