Oklahoma | I went inside death row, what I saw made me sick - Henry McLeish

The evolution of civilised behaviour, indicating a retreat from barbarism, has become a distinctive feature of most modern western democracies, but America often disappoints, retaining practices that shock, sadden, and in my case, nearly made me physically sick.
My visit to death row at McAlester State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, brought home to me, how the final setting for government sponsored killings, combined with execution by lethal injection, brought a brutal end to lives. And made a mockery of the idea of justice, offering instead a violent, humiliating, and inhuman act of revenge, with no serious pretence that any of these end of life dramas, provide any deterrence in criminal justice terms. Formerly known as “Indian Territory”, and home of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, with a population of over 4 million, became a state in 1907. Located in America’s “Bible” belt, where there is a strong fundamentalist Christian tradition and powerful Republican politics, Oklahoma remains a pro…

China: Death sentence for Japanese man in drug case

Six people nabbed in a cross-border drug trafficking case in China, including one Japanese and two Koreans, have been given punishments ranging from life imprisonment to the death sentence.

Three of the six, including one from the Chinese mainland, one from Hong Kong and one from Japan, were sentenced to death on December 16 for trafficking up to 120 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, the intermediate people's court of Nantong in the eastern province of Jiangsu said on Friday.

The court found that the Hong Kong man escorted the Japanese buyer and three others, two from the South Korea and one from Taiwan, who is still on the run, to buy crystal methamphetamine from two sellers in South China's Guangdong Province between February 2012 and March 2013.

Some of the drugs were transported to Nantong and also Rizhao in Shandong Province, and another two Koreans were responsible for smuggling the drugs to Japan by cargo ship, it said.

The other drug seller in Guangdong was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. The two Koreans were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and life in prison, respectively.

The court also ordered the confiscation of the personal property of all six drug dealers. Three of the six have appealed their verdicts.

At least seven Japanese have been sentenced to the death penalty or the death penalty with a reprieve due to drug trafficking in China. Four were sentenced to death in 2010, and one was in July, according to an earlier Global Times report.

Since 2000, over 10 foreigners including British, Japanese, Filipino and South Africans have been sentenced to death in China, and most criminals received the death sentence for drug trafficking despite foreign pressure.

Source: Global Times, December 27, 2014 (Local time)

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