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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…

The Madives: Death penalty can be implemented starting today: Home Minister

The death penalty can be implemented in the Maldives starting today following the publication of procedural regulations in the government gazette, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has said.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Naseer said the chances of killing an innocent person after completing all the procedures in the regulation - titled "procedural regulation on investigating and penalising the crime of murder" - was "far-fetched" and "almost impossible".

The regulation was formulated under the Police Act and the Clemency Act with the objective of specifying the procedures for investigating murders and implementing death penalty, and came into force today.

While Maldives has been maintaining an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty since 1953, several people have been sentenced to death over the years. The common practice had been for the president to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment through powers vested in him by Clemency Act.

With the new regulation, the president will no longer have this authority if a person is sentenced to death for murder by the Supreme Court, Naseer noted.

Both President Abdulla Yameen and Vice President Mohamed Jameel have expressed their support for implementing death penalty.

Procedures

The regulation only allows implementation of death penalty for intentional homicide or premeditated murder and only when the sentence is delivered by the Supreme Court.

A death penalty committee comprised of the Prosecutor General, Chief Justice (or someone appointed by him) and the Commissioner of Prisons have to send a written confirmation to the president that all procedures of the regulation have been followed.

After receiving this confirmation, the president is required to send an execution order to the Commissioner of Prisons within 3 days.

Within 7 days of receiving this order, the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) has to carry out the execution using lethal injection.

Naseer said the executions will take place at a building in Maafushi Prison, which is currently under construction.

Mediation process

The regulation requires Ministry of Islamic Affairs to mediate between the victim's family and the convict.

Through this process, which reflects the Shariah principle of qisas (retaliation), family members who are 'warith' (heirs in Shariah law) will be given an opportunity to pardon the convict with or without receiving blood money.

The execution will not be carried out even if a single member of the family chooses to pardon the convict.

The family is given a 10-day period following the mediation to come to a decision.

"A 1st step"

According to the regulation, implementation of death penalty can be delayed if the convict is underage, till he or she is 18-years-old and if the convict is pregnant, until she gives birth and the child is 2 years old.

If a medical board appointed by the Commissioner of Prisons finds the convict is of very weak health, the sentence will be delayed till he recovers.

Responding to a question about implementing stricter punishments for other crimes as well, Naseer said the decision to implement death penalty for murder is just a 1st step and noted that "the Quran was also revealed through different stages."

"Look at this as a 1st step. God willing, this government will take all necessary action for keeping peace and creating a safe environment for our citizens." He said.

Naseer also noted that there maybe some countries and organisations which would be concerned over the decision, but said the Maldives will go ahead with it as a sovereign nation and a 100 % Islamic country.

"There will be some parties who will be concerned about this. Concerned countries, concerned NGOs. Some counties are not too pleased with it [death penalty], but we will know about the issue of executing people in this country, the overcrowding of prisons in this country, how much the criminal environment is more lively in this country. And we are 100 % Islamic country and there are certain values that we all believe in," Naseer said.

Source: Minivan News, April 27, 2014



Maldives enacts death penalty regulations

The home ministry on Sunday gazetted the recently drafted regulations on death penalty, with immediate effect.

The 1st cabinet discussion on the death penalty had been conducted on February 9. That discussion resulted in the cabinet having decided to draft detailed regulations on how actions will be taken in investigations and prosecutions with regards to the death penalty.

Explaining the regulations, home minister Umar Naseer told reporters that the president must order the implementation of the death sentence within three days of the sentence being pronounced. However, the accused will have opportunity to mediate with the beneficiaries of the deceased before the President orders the death penalty, he said.

According to the new regulation, the Islamic ministry will be responsible for overseeing the mediation process.

Umar stressed that the beneficiaries of the deceased should be consulted even before the execution of the death sentence. If any of them refuses, the sentence would be not be executed, he said.

The minister noted that the death penalty would be executed at Maafushi Prison and would be witnessed by the Commissioner of Prisons, 3 members of the public, a state attorney and a medical doctor.

"Facilities needed for the execution of death penalty are being established at Maafushi Prison," Umar said.

The cabinet had previously suggested lethal injection as the method of executing death penalty.

The latest death sentence was handed to Hussain Humam, the prime suspect in the murder of former Ungoofaru MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

20 people have been sentenced to death so far. High Court overturned the sentence of one of the convicts, whilst the rest have been stalled at the appeal court.

Source: Haveeru, April 27, 2014

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