Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

Death for the Disabled: Should We Kill Freddie Lee Hall?

Like many death row inmates across the country, Florida’s 68-year-old Freddie Lee Hall is mentally disabled. The question is whether he is too disabled to be executed—an issue that now will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in what many observers believe is the most important legal challenge to the death penalty in years.

In 1978, Hall was convicted of murdering a pregnant housewife and a deputy sheriff, both gruesome and heartless acts. But in 1992, at one of Hall’s many post-conviction resentencing hearings, a Florida judge found that Hall had been “mentally retarded all his life.”

In a later proceeding (Hall v. State), two state court appellate judges wrote that Hall had an IQ of 60, suffered from organic brain damage, had the short-term memory of a first-grader and was raised under the most “horrific family circumstances imaginable.” Among other forms of abuse and torture suffered at the hands of his mother, relatives and neighbors, Hall was tied up in a burlap sack as a youngster and swung over an open fire, suspended by his hands from a ceiling beam, beaten while naked, made to lie still for hours underneath a bed and repeatedly deprived of food.

Last year, after Hall had exhausted his state-court appeals, the Florida Supreme Court deemed him mentally fit for lethal injection, as during the course of his long incarceration he had registered scores of 80, 73 and 71 on Wechsler WAIS III IQ tests administered at the direction of prison authorities. Under Florida law, any death row inmate scoring above 70 cannot be considered disabled.

In agreeing to review Hall’s case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Florida’s bright-line IQ cutoff for defining mental disability runs afoul of the high court’s 2002 holding in Atkins v. Virginia. In Atkins, a bitterly contested 6-3 opinion written by since-retired Justice John Paul Stevens, the court held that evolving standards of decency and an emerging national consensus indeed precluded the execution of inmates deemed “mentally retarded,” the term then widely used before it was cleaned up, sanitized and replaced with the label “disabled” by mental health organizations.

Source: Bill Blum, truthdig, October 24, 2013. Bill Blum is a former judge and death penalty defense attorney. He is a contributing writer for California Lawyer magazine. Contact Twitter: @BlumsLaw

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