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Arizona: Execution witnesses have First Amendment right to hear entire process, 9th Circuit rules

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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that witnesses to Arizona executions have a First Amendment right to hear the entire execution process to help determine if executions are done “in a humane and lawful manner.”
The ruling comes 5 years after the last execution in Arizona ended up with the condemned inmate, Joseph Wood, gasping for almost two hours and in apparent agony behind soundproof glass.
A 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the claim, by seven death-row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, that the ability to hear what’s happening in the execution room will foster a heightened level of transparency around the death penalty.

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“People might say, ‘That sounds so gory, why do you want to hear what’s happening in there?'” said Morgan Loew, an investigative reporter with CBS 5 in Arizona and the president of the First Amendment Coalition. “What we’re doing is fighting for more access to probably the most …

Woman convicted of 'sorcery' is beheaded in Saudi Arabia

A woman convicted of practising magic and sorcery has been executed by Saudi authorities.

The Saudi Interior Ministry says in a statement that the woman was beheaded today, but gave no details of her crime.

The London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 (£500) per session.

The newspaper said a female investigator followed the case up, and the woman was arrested in April 2009 and later convicted in a Saudi court.

It did not give the woman's name, but said she was in her 60s.

The execution brings the total to 76 this year in Saudi Arabia. At least three have been women, and 11 were foreign nationals.

In September, a Sudanese man, Abdul Hamid bin Hussain bin Moustafa al-Fakki, was also put to death in Saudi Arabia for sorcery.

Amnesty International has called for the kingdom's government to establish an immediate moratorium on executions.

The crime of 'sorcery' is not defined in Saudi Arabian law but it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including their right to freedom of expression, the charity said.

Source: Daily Mail, December 12, 2011

Related articles:
Mar 21, 2010
The attorney, May El Khansa, who is in Lebanon, tells CNN her client was arrested by Saudi Arabia's religious police (known as the Mutawa'een) and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. ...
Apr 24, 2010
A Lebanese man who was charged with sorcery and given the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, might get an official pardon from the kingdom, his lawyer said on Friday. Ali Sibat (pictured), a Lebanese television presenter...
Jun 11, 2011
URGENT APPEAL for Rizana Nafeek, a 22-year-old Sri Lankan domestic worker, and a Sudanese man sentenced to death for sorcery at imminent risk of execution in Saudi Arabia ...
Apr 04, 2010
The judges said that he deserved to be sentenced to death because he had practiced 'sorcery' publicly for several years before millions of viewers." The court added that his execution would act as a deterrent to what it called ...

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