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Showing posts from October, 2014

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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Accused Colorado Cinema Gunman's Lawyers Want Second Sanity Exam Barred

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Defense lawyers in the Colorado theater massacre case want a 2nd court-ordered sanity examination undergone by accused gunman James Holmes barred from his upcoming murder trial, court documents on Thursday showed.
Public defenders filed "a motion to strike" or limit the opinions and testimony of the psychiatrist who conducted the testing. The disclosure was made in a ruling by the judge that suppressed the full contents of the pleading.
Holmes, 26, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to shooting dead 12 moviegoers and wounding dozens in a suburban Denver cinema during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in July 2012.
Prosecutors have charged Holmes with multiple counts of 1st-degree murder and attempted murder, and said they will seek the death penalty for the California native if he is convicted.
After invoking the insanity defense, Holmes underwent a mental examination last year, but Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlo…

Iran: 55 executed in less than two weeks

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Head of Supreme Human Rights Council in Iranian regime’s judiciary says executions are part of fighting narcotics and world should be grateful to us for that
NCRI - Along with the anti-human crime of throwing acid into the faces of defenseless women in Iran, the wave of executions in the cities across the country has increased.
In the span of 12 days (October 18 to 29) at least 55 prisoners have been executed in Iran. The real figure is much larger as the Iranian regime does not provide information on every execution being carried out in numerous prisons throughout the country.
A group of 17 prisoners were secretly hanged on Monday (October 27, 2014) in city of Taybad in northeastern Iran and 47 others are on death row. These executions followed the hanging of a group of eight inmates on October 18 in the same prison
Ten more prisoners were secretly hanged in the central prison in the western city of Orumiyeh, including Ebrahim Choupani, a severely mentally disturbed prisoner who was …

New details of Iranian regime torturing Reyhaneh Jabbari revealed by her uncle

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NCRI – In the first public remarks from a close relative of Reyhaneh Jabbari, new details of the Iranian regime torturing her physically and psychologically, starting immediately after her arrest in 2009, have been revealed.
During a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Ms. Reyhaneh Jabbari’s uncle, Fariborz Jabbari, described her execution as "state terror".
He said, "Reyhaneh was physically and psychologically tortured by security officers a number of times during her imprisonment and forced her to make coercive confessions."
He said that even moments before her hanging "prison officials asked Reyhaneh to say in front of the camera that Morteza Abdullali Sarbandi [the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security official who was killed] did not try to sexually assault her, but she refused to do so until the last minute."
Fariborz Jabbari stressed that "Numerous cases of violations of human rights have taken place since Reyhaneh was a…

US Supreme Court late night rulings on death row fates

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In an 11th-hour reprieve, the US Supreme Court put a murderer's execution on hold this week, a rare moment when a defense was able to slow, if only temporarily, the inexorable wheels of justice.
Hundreds of miles from the grim cell blocks of America's death row prisons, the lofty halls of the Washington court conceal a small but efficient bureaucracy of execution.
The court's 9 justices are regularly called upon to make last-ditch life or death decisions, supported by a discreet body of clerks in touch with cases ongoing in states around the country. Danny Bickell is the court's "emergency application clerk" - informally known as the "death clerk" - and handles all Supreme Court business relating to individual executions.
He operates confidentially and does not give interviews but is known to keep tabs on capital cases and to remain in constant touch with defense teams representing death row inmates.
If a last minute appeal is lodged, it is Bickell…

Arizona Death Penalty Still in Limbo After Botched Execution

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After it took 2 hours and 15 doses of lethal-injection drugs for the state to execute convicted murderer Joseph Wood in July, the state's death penalty procedure is still in limbo.
A lawsuit in federal court, filed by both current death-row prisoners and a legal group representing media organizations, challenges various aspects of the state's lethal-injection protocol. At a status conference today, Judge Neil Wake suggested there may be no way right now for the state to execute anyone.
As Wake put it, "There seems to be a great deal of uncertainty, to put it in a great understatement."
When the state executed Wood in July, it was using a new combination of drugs, due to a shortage of the usual lethal drugs.
Federal public defender Dale Baich, who represented Wood, has referred to the execution as "an experiment that failed."
Reporters who witnessed the execution described Wood gasping for air hundreds of times, although Arizona Department of Corrections Di…

Texas sets execution date for mentally ill killer Scott Panetti

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Texas is preparing to execute a mentally ill man who dressed as a cowboy at his trial and attempted to subpoena Jesus Christ, John F Kennedy and the Pope.
On Wednesday, a day after Miguel Paredes became the 10th – and at the time it was thought final – Texas prisoner to be put to death this year, the state gave Scott Panetti an execution date of 3 December. The 56-year-old shot his parents-in-law to death in 1992 in front of his estranged wife and their three-year-old daughter.
Long and complex legal battles have taken place since he was convicted in 1995 as a succession of courts have ruled Panetti is competent to be executed even though there is no question that he is mentally ill and suffers from paranoid delusions.
A schizophrenic man who had been hospitalised 14 times before the murders of Joe and Amanda Alvarado in the Texas Hill Country, he insisted he represent himself at trial, where his only defence was insanity. He said that during the crime he was under the control of a h…

Saudi Arabia and its merciless judges

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60 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the start of 2014. Even religion-related crimes can carry the death penalty, because the kingdom sees itself as the protector of Sunni Islam.
The punishment was harsh, but for some it wasn't harsh enough. Writing on his website "Free Saudi Liberals," Raif Badawi had criticized leading Saudi scholars and the role of Islam in public life in Saudi Arabia. The judge called that "offending faith," and went on to accuse Badawi of ridiculing Islamic dignitaries and crossing "the boundaries of obedience." Later, a charge of apostasy was also added to the list, which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. In July 2013, the sentence was passed - 600 lashes and 7 years in jail. Badawi appealed, and in May this year the judge announced a new sentence: 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail, plus a fine equal to 195,000 euros ($250,000).
Badawi's fate is no isolated case. In Saudi Arabia, human rights activists…

Nigerian child bride accused of murder could receive death penalty

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A 14-year-old Nigerian girl accused of murdering her 35-year-old husband by putting rat poison in his food could face the death penalty, Nigerian prosecutors said today.
The trial of Wasila Tasi'u, from a poor northern Nigeria family, has sparked a heated debate on the role of underage marriage in the conservative Muslim region, especially whether an adolescent girl can consent to be a bride.
Prosecutors at the High Court in Gezawa, outside Nigeria's second city of Kano, filed an amended complaint that charged Tasi'u with 1 count of murder over the killing of Umar Sani 2 weeks after their April wedding in the village of Unguwar Yansoro.
Lead prosecutor Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki said that if convicted, the charge is "punishable with death" and indicated the state would seek the maximum penalty.
Nigeria is not known to have executed a juvenile offender since 1997, when the country was ruled by military dictator Sani Abacha, according to Human Rights Watch.
Tasi'…

Bali Nine: Dilemma of being left at death's door

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With Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's last days in office passing without an act of presidential clemency, 2 of Australia's "Bali 9" convicted drug smugglers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, remain on death row in Indonesia. They are liable to be taken out in the early hours any day to be shot by firing squad.
But even if the new president, Joko Widodo, commutes their sentences, Australia and New Zealand seem likely to remain quite isolated in our region in calling for abolition of the death penalty. So how should this sometimes forlorn argument be carried forward?
Frontal attacks on the "barbarity" of capital punishment only harden attitudes in foreign governments, if the Barlow and Chambers case in Malaysia (1986) and the Nguyen Tuong Van case in Singapore (2005) are a guide.
By contrast, about 35 Australians have faced court in Vietnam since 2001 for serious drug offences and 6 got the death penalty, as the Asian Law Centre's Professor Pip Nicholson tol…

China: Retrial may start for man wrongly executed for murder, rape

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A court in China’s Inner Mongolia may start a retrial for a 19 year-old man who was wrongly executed 18 years ago for murder and rape, according to newspaper Fazhi Wanbao.
In 1996, Qoγsiletu, a young Mongolian Chinese man, was arrested after reporting to police in Hohhot that he had found a dead body in a public toilet. The police questioned why he was in a woman’s toilet to discover a corpse and soon charged him with her rape and murder.
Qoγsiletu was reported to have told the court that he was drunk at the time and had ended up in the woman’s toilet by mistake. Yet his defence was in vain, and he received the death penalty two months later.
It took the police ten years to realise that Qoγsiletu was wronged. In 2006, they arrested a serial killer and rapist who confessed to murdering a woman in a Hohhot a toilet in 1996 – and gave details of the crime scene that proved him to be the real culprit.
Chinese media reports showed that Qoγsiletu was arrested amid a nationwide crackdown on…

Asia Bibi's death penalty: A test case for human rights in Pakistan

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The lawyers of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, are set to appeal against her death penalty in the Supreme Court. Activists say the case will serve as a test for human rights in Pakistan.
Asia Bibi has been languishing in prison for more than five years. The 49-year-old mother of 5 was arrested in June, 2009 after her neighbors complained that she had made derogatory remarks about Islam's Prophet Mohammed. A year later, Bibi was sentenced to death under the Islamic Republic's controversial blasphemy law despite strong opposition from the national and international human rights groups.
The slim hope that the Pakistani judiciary might pardon Bibi and eventually release her was dashed earlier this month when the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruled to uphold her 2010 death sentence.
"We are utterly disappointed, but we will file a review petition against the LHC decision in the Supreme Court," Asia Bibi's lawyer Naeem Shakir told reporters af…

North Korean officials 'publicly executed for watching South Korean soap operas'

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North Korea has reportedly publicly executed at least 50 people this year, including several party officials for watching soap operas.
According to South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), Pyongyang has purged about 10 officials from Kim Jong-un's Workers' Party for watching South Korean soaps.
The officials, who also faced charges of bribery and womanising, were thought to be close to Kim's executed uncle, Jang Song-thaek, Yonhap news agency reported.
All television and media is under strict state control and access to the internet is limited but despite a harsh crackdown, banned foreign shows and films have been gaining popularity in recent years.
Some are believed to be secretly streamed over the internet, while others are smuggled into the country on DVDs, video cassettes of memory sticks sold on the black market.
A North Korean defector calling himself "Mr Chung" revealed North Korea's preferences in a Channel 4 documentary last year.
He s…

Iran: Hassan Rouhani’s government endorses Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution

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NCRI – The government of Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, on Wednesday, endorsed the brutal execution of 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari and rejected worldwide condemnation of her hanging as “meddling in a judicial case.”
Despite the international calls to spare her life, the Iranian regime hanged Reyhaneh Jabbari at dawn on Saturday, October 25 in Gahrdasht prison outside Tehran after she had spent seven years behind bars.
“Meddling in a judicial case which has gone through full legal proceedings under the due process of law and in which the right of appeal has been granted is unacceptable,” Hassan Rouhani’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman - Marzieh Afkham - said on Wednesday.
Ms. Jabbari was arrested for defending herself against the aggression of an official of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
All evidence indicates that the criminal execution of Ms. Rayhaneh Jabbari, after seven and a half years of incarceration and torture and despite widespread protests and…