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Editorial: In a civilized society, not even the most vicious crimes justify a death sentence

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It is soul-bruising to contemplate the torture that 10-year-old Anthony Avalos endured in his Lancaster home for more than a week before dying last year. Whippings with a looped cord and belt. Repeatedly held upside down then dropped on his head. Getting slammed into pieces of furniture and against the floor. Hot sauce poured on his face and mouth.
The road map of the abuse stretched from head to toe on his small malnourished body — bruises, abrasions, scabs and cuts visible on the outside. Traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage on the inside. All allegedly perpetrated by his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
RELATED | California: Prosecutors seeking death penalty in Anthony Avalos torture case
If ever a set of circumstances called for the death penalty, this would be it. Few were surprised when Los Angeles County prosecutors said Wednesday that if the couple is convicted of the torture-murder, the jury will be asked to recommend a death sentence.
Such ca…

Saudi Arabia beheads drug trafficker

Public execution by beheading
on a parking lot in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia beheaded one of its nationals on Tuesday after he was convicted of drug trafficking, the Interior Ministry announced in a statement.

Musaed Al Ruweili was arrested as he tried to smuggle “a large number of narcotic pills into the kingdom,” said the statement, cited by the official SPA news agency.

He was beheaded by the sword in the northern Al Jawf province.

The execution brings to seven the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia so far this year.

In 2012, the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom beheaded 76 people, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. The US-based Human Rights Watch put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of Sharia, or Islamic law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 29, 2013

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