Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Movie on Malaysian on death row in Singapore in the offing

Yong Vui Kong
PETALING JAYA: A local filmmaker will produce a movie based on the life of Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian who is facing the death penalty in Singapore for drug trafficking.

To be called Letters From Death Row, the movie was inspired by Sabah-born Yong who was caught trafficking 47.27g of heroin in the republic when he was 19.

Yong was apparently working as a mule for an unidentified criminal boss when he was arrested in 2007. He was barely 18 at the time, but the prosecution declined to reduce the charge against him, and hence, Yong faces mandatory death.

According to independent film producer Kit Lim, he was personally touched that a 19-year-old faced his own mortality with dignity, even as he is remorseful.

“I hope this film will be able to highlight the problems that arise from the mandatory death penalty, whereby young, poor and illiterate drug mules are executed while those responsible go unpunished.

“We have condemned young drug mules to death instead of going after the culprits producing these substances and putting them in the hands of children,” the 28-year-old said in an interview.

Lim said the film, in the style of a docudrama, will feature actual letters written by Yong from prison in Singapore.

Due to limited funds, Lim said he and his crew have started collecting donations online for the venture that should be completed within two years.

Shooting will take place in Yong’s hometown in Sandakan, Sabah, as well as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“Our target is to raise US$15,000 (RM49,300), but we will proceed with this movie no matter how much we get,” he said.

Yong, now 25, may stand a chance at having his original sentence commuted to life sentence following some legal reforms in Singapore pertaining to the death sentence in certain drug trafficking and murder cases.

Source: The Star, August 31, 2013

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