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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…

10 countries where homosexuality may be punishable by death

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed a law that imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts - and life sentences for those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality." A measure imposing the death penalty was removed from an earlier version of the bill.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in 37 other African countries. Though the death penalty was removed from Uganda's law, it's a potential punishment elsewhere, including parts of Nigeria, Mauritania and Sudan.

(Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda's into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people.)

Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punishable by death:

- Yemen: According to 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.

- Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.

- Iraq: The penal code does not expressly prohibit homosexual acts, but people have been killed by militias and sentenced to death by judges citing sharia law.

- Mauritania: Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law. Women face prison.

- Nigeria: Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.

- Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.

- Saudi Arabia: Under the country's interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.

- Somalia: The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed Sharia law and the death penalty.

- Sudan: Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. Southern parts of the country have adopted more lenient laws.

- United Arab Emirates (UAE): Lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law proscribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned.

Source: The Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2014

DPN: Pakistan should have been included in this list.

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