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…

UAE: Family of dead maid refuses to accept blood money

4 sentenced to death for rape and murder ordered to pay blood money

The Sharjah Appeals Court has ordered 4 Emirati men, who were spared the death penalty after being convicted of murder in 2009, to pay blood money to the victim's family.

The ruling was issued on Monday.

The ruling was issued by presiding Judge Abdullah Al Shamisi.

Sharjah Appeals Court found the 4 Emirati men guilty of the charge of raping and killing an Ethiopian housemaid and chopping her body into pieces.

Meanwhile, the victim's family refused to pardon the killers or accept the blood money.

In 2010, The Sharjah Court of First Instance issued the death penalty to A.M., 35, S.R., 32, H.A., 33, and A.J., 30, all Emiratis, for raping and killing an Ethiopian maid in what came to be known as the "Al Dhaid murder".

The verdict was handed down by Judge Yaqoub Al Hammadi and 2 other judges on the bench, Hussain Al Asoufi and Ahmad Awdh.

The Sharjah Police had earlier said it was one of the gravest crimes of its kind as it included rape, alcohol and murder.

According to court records, the 4 kidnapped an Ethiopian maid in Khor Fakkan, taped her mouth, pushed her into their Land Cruiser and took her to the desert in August 2009.

They raped her in Khor Fakkan, dragged her into their vehicle again, before driving to Al Dhaid mountains where the act was repeated.

Prosecutors said after raping her in Al Dhaid the men ran their SUV over her head and battered her with rocks before attempting to hide her body.

According to the police, in 2004, one of the killers had raped and killed a 13-year-old Pakistani girl with 2 other accomplices. They were all sentenced to death, but he was forgiven by the victim's father.

Cases involving capital punishment automatically go to appeal.

Representatives from the Ethiopian consul attended the session and followed up the case with court on the behalf of the family.

The next hearing will be on October 27 to issue a final verdict.

Source: Gulf News, Sept. 23, 2014

RAK victim's sons insist on death for killers

The sons of a man murdered in Ras Al Khaimah insisted in court on the execution of the two Arab killers of their father, rejecting an out-of-court diya (blood money) settlement, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The two Arabs had been arrested by the police on charges of murdering the Emirati man, in his 50s, while trying to rob him.

The Arabic language daily Al Khaleej said the victim’s son refused to accept diya, prompting the judge to adjourn hearings to October.

Source: Emirates 24/7, Sept. 24, 2014

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