California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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…

Indonesian Brothers Released From Death Row in Malaysian Self Defense Killing

Jakarta. Indonesian officials welcomed the release of two domestic workers sentenced to death in Malaysia on Tuesday, drawing to a close a protracted legal battle over the fate of two men who accidentally killed a home intruder during a scuffle at their employer’s home.

Brothers Frans Hiu and Dharry Hiu were sentenced to death in October of 2012 in a case that inspired outrage in both Indonesia and Malaysia. According to numerous reports on the case, the brothers were asleep in a Playstation rental shophouse in Selangor, Malaysia, when 26-year-old R. Khartic, high on drugs, broke into the room. He attacked the men, causing Dharry to flee the scene for help while his brother Frans grabbed Khartic by the neck and held him down.

The burglar lost consciousness and died while being restrained. The brothers, during their trial at the Shah Alam High Court, testified that they were attacked in their home and were acting in self defense when Khartic was killed. The court disagreed, sentencing the men to death by hanging on Oct. 18, 2012.

The case was seen as a failure of justice by some in Malaysia, a country currently struggling with a surge in violent crime. The nonprofit Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch (MARAH) questioned the verdict in a Oct. 27, 2012 op-ed for the domestic news portal Free Malaysia Today, asking why the courts would punish two men who, by all accounts, were protecting themselves from a violent criminal.

Source: The Jakarta Globe, January 28, 2014

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