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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…

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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