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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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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…

France blasts Indonesian legal ‘dysfunctions’ in death row case

Fabius: "Serious dysfunctions in the Indonesian legal system"
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday that the sentencing to death of a Frenchman in Indonesia was the result of "serious dysfunctions" in the country's legal system.

Fabius said in a letter to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi that Serge Atlaoui, 51, had been the victim of a hasty trial and was sentenced "in a ruling containing erroneous statements".

Atlaoui's final appeal was rejected on Tuesday, taking him closer to execution by firing squad for his role in a clandestine ecstasy lab near Jakarta.

The ruling has strained ties between France and Indonesia and has seen appeals from his family, as well as President Francois Hollande, for him not to be executed.

"The eventual execution of Mr Atlaoui would be even more incomprehensible to the government and French people as, due to serious dysfunctions in the Indonesian legal system, he did not benefit from his due rights," wrote Fabius.

He said it was "particularly shocking" that the Supreme Court decision was handed down in only a few weeks without calling witnesses, while the Indonesians accused of running the drugs lab had over a year of hearings.

"This is a discriminatory procedure against one of our citizens who does not benefit from the same guarantees as Indonesian citizens in the same case."

Fabius said the death sentence contained errors describing Atlaoui as a chemist while witness statements proved he was working as a welder in the factory where the drugs were being produced.

France "urgently requests that Indonesia respect its own rule of law and international obligations of the convention to which it belongs," said Fabius, urging the country to grant Atlaoui clemency.

Imprisoned in Indonesia for a decade, the father-of-four has always denied the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.

He is one of several foreign drug convicts on death row in Indonesia who recently lost appeals for presidential clemency, typically a last chance to avoid the firing squad. They are expected to be executed once final legal appeals are resolved.

Hollande warned Indonesia on Wednesday that executing Atlaoui would damage ties between the two nations.

If put to death, Atlaoui would be the first Frenchman to be executed anywhere in nearly 40 years.

Drug laws in Indonesia are among the world's toughest.

President Joko Widodo, who took office in October, has been a vocal supporter of putting drug traffickers to death, saying the country is facing a narcotics emergency.

In January, the country executed six people accused of drug trafficking, including Brazilian and Dutch nationals.

As such, analysts say France's repeated calls for clemency have little chance of succeeding.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 23, 2015

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