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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…

UAE: Janitor rapist gets death penalty

50-year-old who raped seven-year-old girl on school premises sentenced to death.

Abu Dhabi: A man who was found guilty of raping a seven-year-old Emirati pupil on her school premises has been sentenced to death, the Criminal Court of First Instance ruled in the capital on Monday.

According to court documents, after returning home from school one day earlier this year, the victim displayed signs of sexual abuse.

“Her aunt who is accustomed to giving her a bath after school, asked her to remove her trousers. Upon refusing to do so, and after her aunt’s insistence, traces of blood and semen were found in the girl’s underpants,” Hussain Al Jaziri, the plaintiff’s lawyer said during the trial’s closing arguments.

The victim had been sent to the administration office to deliver some papers by her class teacher, who was believed to have left the country days before the defendant was arrested.

Seeing her walk by, the accused, in his 50s, who was also a former janitor at the girl’s private school, reportedly took her into the school’s kitchen where he continued to molest her. He then threatened to kill her and her mother if she told anyone about the incident.

Lawyers had cited the girl’s unsupervised presence in the school to be the direct reason for the aggressor’s actions.
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The defence team had argued that a DNA and blood test were not conducted to link the suspect to the crime. However, the accused had confessed to his crimes claiming that he possessed feelings of affection towards the victim, according to court documents.

“Hopefully this verdict will provide the victim’s family with closure and security knowing that justice was served. I also urge parents and child caretakers everywhere to promptly report any act of aggression or abuse taken against their children as refraining from reporting these incidents only protects the offender,” Al Jaziri told Gulf News. The verdict is subject to appeal.

Source: Gulf News, July 30, 2013

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