Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Egypt: Bailed Al Jazeera journalist urges help for 'decent teenager' Ibrahim Halawa

Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, on bail awaiting his retrial in Egypt, has urged the Irish government and the international community to save a teenager from Dublin with whom he recently shared a cell.

Ibrahim Halawa was 17 and on holiday with family when he was arrested in August 2013 during the Egyptian military’s breakup of protests. He faces a death sentence if convicted alongside 493 other people on nearly identical charges. The controversial ‘mass trial’, which includes several other juveniles alongside Mr Halawa, was postponed on Sunday for the fifth time in seven months. It emerged yesterday that Mr Halawa is now being held alongside prisoners who have been condemned to death at Wadi Natrun, reportedly one of Egypt’s worst jails.

Speaking to the Toronto Star, Mr Fahmy, who was jailed in Cairo in 2014 along with his colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, urged the Irish government to press for Mr Halawa’s deportation under the presidential decree that led to Mr Greste’s release several weeks ago.

Mr Fahmy said: “Any delay in extracting [Ibrahim Halawa] could leave him caught up for years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system and possibly a victim on death row if the world turns a blind eye to his pitiful situation.” He added that Mr Halawa was "a decent teenager who has committed no crime.”

On Sunday, Mr Halawa told his family that he was being mistreated and denied food in the prison, and that he was afraid he was going to die there.

Commenting, Maya Foa, the director the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “Mohamed Fahmy is right to condemn this mass trial for what it is – an unspeakable injustice against a scared teenager and hundreds of others who have been put through hell, merely for attending a protest. It’s now clear Ibrahim is being treated so badly that he fears he may die before he can even mount a defence. The Irish government and other countries need to do all they can to press for his release, before any harm comes to him.” 
  • Background on Mr Halawa's case can be found at Reprieve's website.
  • Detail on conditions at Wadi Natrun prison can be found in this article.
Source: Reprieve, March 31, 2015

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