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USA | Lethal Injection’s Dreadful Failures: How States Are Trying to Normalize Accidents

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Editor’s Note: This column is the product of a research collaboration with five Amherst College students, Mattea Denney, Nicolas Graber-Mitchell, Greene Ko, Rose Mroczka, and Lauren Pelosi. In a column last month, I argued that over the last decade the lethal injection paradigm decomposed as new drugs and drug cocktails were adopted in death penalty states. As this happened, the number of problems encountered during executions multiplied. Of all the techniques used to put people to death in the United States since the start of the twentieth century, by 2010 lethal injection already had shown itself to be the most problematic . Since then, things have only gotten worse As lethal injection mishaps multiplied, death penalty states did not sit idly by . Over the last decade, they responded in two ways . My research collaborators and I found that while some states modified their execution procedures to make mishaps less likely, others introduced greater ambiguity and discretion into their

Saudi Arabia: Man Executed for Witchcraft and Adultery

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia executed a man for practicing witchcraft and committing adultery, the state news agency said Tuesday, citing a statement from the Interior Ministry.

The man, Mareeh bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri, “was in possession of books and talismans from which he learned to harm God’s worshipers and admitted adultery with two women,” the statement said.

He was executed in Najran Province, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Last year, Saudi Arabia beheaded a man and a woman for witchcraft in two cases.

Source: Reuters, June 20, 2012


Saudi Man Executed For ‘Sorcery’

A Saudi man found guilty of performing ‘black magic’ has been beheaded, the country’s Interior Ministry said. Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri was convicted of “witchcraft, sorcery and owning written talismans”.

He was also said to have admitted carrying out adultery with 2 women, the official SPA news agency reported.

The execution, in Najran province, comes as part of a wider crackdown on crimes of ‘sorcery’ across the country. In March this year, the country’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice announced that it was setting up a unit to “fight sorcerers and charlatans in all parts of the Kingdom”.

“The unit has been given orders to immediately arrest sorcerers and charlatans and refer them to the specialized authorities to apply God’s punishment on them and end their harmful deeds against Muslims,” according to a statement at the time from the Commission’s president, Sheikh Abdul Latif Al Shaikh.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that the Commission had been given SR 2 million (US$500,000) in funding from the government to tackle the issue. As a result, executions appear to be more common.The beheading of a Saudi woman in December last year attracted criticism from human rights groups.

“The charges of ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s interim Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“The charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion.”

Another case in September last year, saw a Sudanese man executed for witchcraft crimes. According to Amnesty International, the man was allegedly made to confess after being tortured, and was tried without access to a lawyer.

In 2008, popular Lebanese TV mystic Ali Hussain Sibat was arrested in Saudi Arabia and detained for 2 years on charges of witchcraft. He was originally given a death sentence, but after international pressure, was eventually released.

Part of the problem is that the country does not have a clear legal code. Cases are heard according to Islamic religious laws, and judges often have wide ranging powers of interpretation.

“The judges think they are the interpreters of God’s word, and this is the whole problem in Saudi Arabia,” said Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, director of the Saudi-based Human Rights First Society, in comments to the New York Times in 2010.

“We have enormous numbers of examples where the same case was judged radically differently between 2 judges.”

Source: Epoch Times, June 20, 2012

Related articles:
May 11, 2012
In Saudi Arabia, witchcraft is a crime punishable by death. Last year, Saudi authorities beheaded two people, a Sudanese man and a Saudi woman, for practicing witchcraft. It is not clear how the judicial system in the country...
Jan 08, 2012
Colville also lashed out at the country's use of the death penalty for crimes including adultery and witchcraft and sorcery, which saw a woman executed last month after being convicted of being a witch. The OHCHR also ...

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