Editorial: In a civilized society, not even the most vicious crimes justify a death sentence

It is soul-bruising to contemplate the torture that 10-year-old Anthony Avalos endured in his Lancaster home for more than a week before dying last year. Whippings with a looped cord and belt. Repeatedly held upside down then dropped on his head. Getting slammed into pieces of furniture and against the floor. Hot sauce poured on his face and mouth.
The road map of the abuse stretched from head to toe on his small malnourished body — bruises, abrasions, scabs and cuts visible on the outside. Traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage on the inside. All allegedly perpetrated by his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
RELATED | California: Prosecutors seeking death penalty in Anthony Avalos torture case
If ever a set of circumstances called for the death penalty, this would be it. Few were surprised when Los Angeles County prosecutors said Wednesday that if the couple is convicted of the torture-murder, the jury will be asked to recommend a death sentence.
Such ca…

German company denies selling death cranes to Iran

Atlas crane used for an execution in Iran
The chairman of a German company whose cranes are reportedly being used for public hangings in Iran lashed out at critics and dismissed calls for his company to end its relationship with Tehran on humanitarian grounds.

German construction company Atlas has come under fire from advocacy groups for purportedly supplying cranes to Iran, which then uses them to publicly hang opposition leaders and others.

Iran is a world leader in executions, killing 529 citizens last year mostly by hanging. Another 40 people were hanged over two weeks in January, and about two Iranians are being executed a day under President Hassan Rouhani.

The name Atlas can be seen on the cranes in several photographs of Iran's public hanging ceremonies, in which a masked executioner strings up a man as locals gather to watch, often with their children.

The photographs prompted the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) to write Atlas Chairman Fil Filipov to demand that his company "immediately terminate all business activities in Iran."

Atlas, which appears to be represented in Iran by an affiliate named Hydro Atlas, says it is not doing business with Iran and does not know how its equipment made its way to the country.

"We do not ship any cranes to this country!" Filipov told the Washington Free Beacon via email when asked about the pictures showing its cranes being used in hangings.

Sources: Washington Free Beacon, NCRI, Feb.19, 2014

Related article:
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Execution evidence stops Tadano selling in Iran, Death Penalty News
Japanese manufacturer Tadano has stopped selling cranes into Iran after evidence emerged of the machines being used in public executions...

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