FEATURED POST

“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

Image
The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

North Korea publicly executes 80: report

Many killed for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows

Seoul: North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday.

The conservative JoongAng Ilbo cited a single, unidentified source, but at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumours that lent credibility to the front-page report.

The source, said to be “familiar” with the North’s internal affairs and recently returned from the country, said the executions were carried out in seven cities on November 3.

In the eastern port of Wonsan, the authorities gathered 10,000 people in a sports stadium to watch the execution of eight people by firing squad, the source quoted one eyewitness as saying.

Most were charged with watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.

Several of the cities, including Wonsan and Pyongsong in the west, have been designated as special economic zones aimed at attracting foreign investment to boost the North’s moribund economy.

The Seoul-based news website, Daily NK, which is run by North Korean defectors and has a wide network of sources, said it had no information on the executions.

But another defector-run website, North Korea Intellectual Solidarity, said its sources had reported several months ago on plans for a wave of public executions.

“The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mindsets and is pre-emptively trying to scare people off,” said one website official.

Watching unsanctioned foreign films or TV — especially those from the capitalist South — is a serious offence in North Korea.

However, efforts to control their distribution have been circumvented by technology, with an increasing number being smuggled in on DVDs, flash drives and mp3 players.

As well as South Korean soap operas, US shows like Desperate Housewives are believed to have a small but avid following.

Source: Agence France-Presse, November 11, 2013

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Tennessee executes Stephen West

Tennessee: Stephen Michael West moved to death watch ahead of Thursday's scheduled execution

Florida: Serial killer of gay men Gary Ray Bowles faces execution Thursday

Notes from inside death row in Singapore

Life and Times of Kenya's Last Hangman

Texas: Darlie Routier defense can explore evidence

Iran: Family spares ex-Tehran mayor facing death over wife's murder

El cuchillo, el jersey rojo y la guillotina

Sister Helen Prejean On Witnessing Executions: 'I Couldn't Let Them Die Alone'

Ohio lawmaker proposes using seized fentanyl in executions