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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…

Murderers to face firing squad in Dubai

Dubai’s highest court upholds death sentence against duo who killed compatriot.

Dubai: Two Bangladeshi men who killed their compatriot and stole his cigarettes have lost their appeal and will face a firing squad.

On Monday the two defendants, 27-year-old M.G. and 22-year-old R.N., failed to convince the Dubai Cassation Court to reduce their sentence after contending they killed the victim in self-defence.

Court records said the defendants planned the murder and lured the victim, identified as Rahimuldeen, to meet them in a sandy spot behind their labour accommodation in Al Rashidiya. They then battered his head with a metal rod and a concrete block. They also kicked and beat him until they were sure he was dead. The defendants also stole Rahimuldeen’s cigarettes, mobile phone and wallet.

A third Bangladeshi suspect, R.A., was cleared of involvement in the murder.

“I assaulted him but that was in self-defence. I defended myself after we exchanged blows. He attacked me first and I hit him back,” said M.G., who records said suffered an injury to his left arm.

R.N. pleaded not guilty citing self-defence. R.A. denied any involvement in the murder or theft.

Financial dispute

According to court records, the victim’s brother, S.A., said the murder was discovered after a financial dispute as M.G. owed his brother Dh3,500.

“Rahimuldeen lent M.G. money that the latter failed to pay back within two months. I saw them fighting once when we were in the market. They also fought a second time in the room which we shared. I was worried when my brother did not return from his night shift. His mobile phone was switched off. M.G. answered in a suspicious manner when I asked him about my brother’s whereabouts. M.G. didn’t participate with us in searching for my brother. Rahimuldeen’s body was discovered behind the accommodation,” S.A. said.

Court records said investigations led to the arrest of the three defendants.

During prosecution and police questioning, the defendants confessed that they fought with Rahimuldeen and beat him.

The defendant’s court-appointed lawyers contended their clients did not intend to murder their victim.

They asked the court to modify the charges from murder to assault which led to Rahimuldeen’s death.

Source: GulfNews, November 26, 2013

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