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…

EU Promises "Fight" If Hungary Brings Death Penalty Back

Hungary's Viktor Orban
European Union leaders are warning Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban that he is in for "a fight" if he considers restoring the death penalty, which is now banned throughout the 28-nation bloc.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Orban "should immediately make clear that this is not his intention. Would it be his intention, it would be a fight."

The head of the EU parliament echoed those comments, saying the legislature's civil liberties committee would be convened urgently and noting that the EU's charter of fundamental rights prohibits the death penalty.

The issue was raised by Orban after last week's murder of a 22-year-old tobacco shop attendant in a southern Hungarian city.

Source: Associated Press, April 29, 2015

DNP does not support 'death penalty'

In line with Christian principles, Hungary's Christian democrats KDNP, which is the coalition party of ruling Fidesz, rejected the idea of reintroducing death penalty in Hungary, vice-president Bence Retvari told Hungarian online daily valasz.hu yesterday.

"A Christian politician does not back capital punishment" Retvari said following Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's comments at a press conference in Pecs on Tuesday that a life sentence is not deterrent enough and as such, the death penalty needs to be kept on the agenda.

On behalf of the party, Retvqri rejected the death penalty in 2012, when the far-right Jobbik raised the issue, saying that supporting capital punishment clearly goes against "Christian values".

Orban's speech on the death penalty caused an immediate backlash both in domestic and international circles, as capital punishment also goes against the principles of the European Union.

Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, initiated a phone call with Orban regarding the PM's comment, to which the Press Chief of the Prime Minister's Office, Bertalan Havasi said that Orban is ready to receive the president's call as the PM is "at the service of President Schulz, as usual."

Source: Budpest Business Journal, April 29, 2015

Hungary PM revives death penalty debate, draws EU concern

European Parliament in Strasbourg, France
Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, under pressure from a eurosceptic right, said on Wednesday it wanted to raise the question of a possible reintroduction of the death penalty with its European Union partners.

A European Parliament member dismissed the idea as barbaric.

Hungary scrapped the death penalty as one of the terms of its accession to the EU in 2004. Orban raised the matter anew after the recent murder of a young tobacconist in southern Hungary that stirred anger in the country.

Fidesz's Parliament caucus leader said the party was aware European rules precluded capital punishment but a debate was still necessary.

"Even in an EU member state, if that country's public wants to have the death penalty ...then a substantial debate can be raised on the EU level," caucus leader Antal Rogan told public radio.

Orban has taken a hard line on a series of issues recently, including proposals for a crackdown on illegal immigrants as his Fidesz loses ground to the far-right, euro-sceptic, anti-immigrant Jobbik party. He said on Tuesday the question of reintroduction should be kept on the agenda in Hungary.

The leftist opposition said Orban was going against European values, while Jobbik Chairman Gabor Vona said the premier was copying his party's playbook.

At the European Parliament (EP), Austrian Social Democrat MEP Joerg Leichtfried called any return to capital punishment "barbaric and an infringement of European law."

EP President Martin Schulz said he had requested an opportunity to speak with Orban on the telephone.

Orban's press chief did not say on what EU forum Hungary might raise the issue.

"Consultations are necessary on the subject on a European level, so the PM will happily discuss it with the (EP) President," Bertalan Havasi told state news agency MTI.

Source: Reuters, April 29, 2015 (wr)

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