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

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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…

India's top court upholds death penalty for Mumbai attacks gunman

Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai in attacks that lasted nearly three days and killed 166 people, had appealed claiming he had not been given a fair trial.

New Delhi: India's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed the death sentence handed down to Mohammad Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed.

Pakistan-born Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai in attacks that lasted nearly three days, had appealed against the sentence and claimed he had not been received a fair trial.

"We are left with no option but to award death penalty," the two judges said in a court order. "The primary and foremost offence committed by Kasab is waging war against the government of India."

The judges had opened the appeal by Kasab, who is being held in a maximum-security prison in Mumbai, in January.

He was found guilty in a Mumbai court on charges, including waging war against India, murder and terrorist acts, and was handed the death penalty in May 2010.

After losing his Supreme Court petition, Kasab is expected to lodge a final appeal for clemency with the president.

Source: AFP, August 29, 2012

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