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…

Indonesia: Executions will be carried out just after the stroke of midnight on Wednesday

drug-related offenses. One of them, Serge Atlaoui of France (top right), was
given a last-minute, two-week reprieve pending another review of his case.
Source: The New York Times, April 25, 2015
Executed on the stroke of midnight: Seven coffins laid out and Wednesday's date painted on to wooden crosses, confirming Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have just hours to live. A local funeral director inscribed the names of those to be shot on crosses

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be executed just after the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, it has been confirmed.

The date - April 29 - became official when a local funeral director in Cilacap, the nearest port to Nusakambangan, or Death Island, was instructed to inscribe the names of those to be shot by firing squad and the date of their deaths.

Funeral director Suhendra Putro, on Sunday was busily stencilling crosses and putting finishing touches to writing the names of the Christian victims and the dates of their deaths, reports The Herald Sun.

Photo - Clockwise from top: Mary Jane Veloso, 30, Philippines, crime: smuggling heroin; Martin Anderson, 50, Nigeria, crime: possession of heroin; Serge Atlaoui, 51, France (reprieve), crime: running a narcotics factory; Zainal Abidin, 50, Indonesia, crime: marijuana possession with intent to distribute; Okwudili Oyatanze, 41, Nigeria, crime: smuggling heroin; Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, 47, Nigeria, crime: smuggling heroin; Rodrigo Gularte, 42, Brazil, crime: smuggling cocaine; Andrew Chan, 31, Australia, crime: smuggling heroin; Jamiu Owolabi Abashin, 50, Nigeria, crime: smuggling heroin; Myuran Sukumaran, 34, Australia, crime: smuggling heroin.

As well as the names of the two Australians, the names of Brazilian national Rodrigo Gularte, Nigerian, Okwudili Ayotanze, and Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines, were also written in white on the wooden crosses. The date '29.04.15' was also written in white ink and the letters 'RIP'.

It meant the condemned men and the lone female will be killed after the stroke of midnight on Tuesday night-Wednesday morning.

This was further confirmed by Utomo Karim, the lawyer for a Nigerian prisoner facing the firing squad, and also in a letter sent to Filipina maid Veloso.

'Each convict on death row was called in 1 by 1, for between 30 minutes to 1 hour, it varied,' Mr Karim said.

'My client (Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami) was notified of the day of the execution, it will be (just after midnight on) Tuesday night.'

Mr Karim added that the six others were also told the countdown to their execution had started.

'My client has received a notification letter that in 72 hours there will be an execution,' said Mr Karim.

'Families will have time to visit Nusakambangan until Tuesday 2pm ... it will be carried out on later on Tuesday after midnight.'

Sukumaran's last wish is to paint for as long as possible, while Chan's is to go to church with his family in his final days.

The men were issued with a 72-hour deadline on Saturday to face a 12-man firing squad, and both the Australian government and their families have pleaded with Indonesia to spare the convicted drug smugglers.

In previously unreleased interviews, Chan has told of the anguish he feels for his family, saying that it is not right that his mother will have to bury him.

Despite his impending execution, Sukumaran has not stopped painting, with the pair's Australian lawyer Julian McMahon coming off a boat from the island clutching a small collection of eerie new self-portraits.

One of them even had '72 hours just started' etched on it after he and Chan were told they are likely to be executed within days.

In a brief interview on arriving at Wijaya Pura port in Cilacap, Chan's brother, Michael, and Sukumaran's brother, Chintu, made more pleas to authorities to spare their brothers' lives.

'The 2 boys are holding up pretty well. Somewhere in the legal system there's got to be mercy. Please ask the (Indonesian) Prime Minister to show mercy,' Michael Chan said.

In interviews that have surfaced for the 1st time, the Australians spoke about facing the death penalty, but also of hope and their genuine efforts at rehabilitation in 2011.

The emergence of the interviews comes as their families have been seen making the journey over to Nusakambangan, Indonesia's 'Death Island', to spend their final hours with the pair.

Sukuraman's mother Raji and siblings Brintha and Chunthu were among those to visit him on Sunday.

Joining them were Chan's mother Helen, brother Michael and fiance Feby, among other friends.

It is unclear how many of the 10 prisoners Indonesia's has readied for execution will face the firing squad, with reports Frenchman Serge Atlaoui has been granted a reprieve.

Chan's comments from 4 years ago reflected the grief seen on his loved ones' faces as they made one of their final journeys to see the convicted drug smugglers.

Chan told AAP their imprisonment had 'obviously affected our families the most'.

'Imagine your mother, or you know, your father picking up that telephone call,' he said.

'It's heartbreaking. It's obviously harder on them than it is on yourself.

'You obviously look at yourself and you say to yourself, "I've really screwed up big time".

'It's not right you know. A mother's not supposed to bury their kid. Obviously a kid is supposed to bury their mother.'

At the time, Chan and Sukumaran were about to lodge their bids for clemency.

They spoke about making mistakes and paying for them.

'Everyone makes mistakes in life,' Chan said.

'No one's perfect. Yeah, we screwed up big time, and you know, we're obviously paying the price for it right now.

'The death penalty. You can think about it, you can let it lay within your mind but we choose to continue doing what we're doing.'

Entering Nusakambangan penal island
Sukumaran said in prison 'you have a lot of time to reflect on all the stupid things you've done'.

'You don't see what you're doing is really that bad,' he said.

'Working with all these people, like inside here teaching ... you get something out of it. I think that makes you a stronger person as well.'

Despite testimonials to their rehabilitation behind bars from prison governors to politicians, academics and Australian artist Ben Quilty, repeated legal appeals and calls for a reprieve have failed.

Chan and Sukumaran, convicted in 2005 for their role in a plot to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia, were given the official 72 hours notice on Saturday that means they could face the firing squad on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop confirmed the executions will be scheduled imminently on Saturday, but called on the Indonesian government to show mercy to the pair.

'The thoughts and prayers of many Australians would be with Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran,' a statement from Ms Bishop read.

'I spoke to Mr Sukumaran's mother Raji yesterday and assured her the government would continue to seek clemency from Indonesian President Widodo for both men.

'Nothing can be gained and much will be lost if these 2 young Australians are executed. I again respectfully call on the President of Indonesia to reconsider his refusal to grant clemency.

'It is not too late for a change of heart.

'Australia asks no more of Indonesia than it has asked of other nations where Indonesian citizens on death row have been granted clemency including for serious drug offences.'

Last ditch efforts to save the pair have also been launched by not-for-profit organisations, such as Amnesty International.

Thousands of flowers will be used to spell out the words KeepHopeAlive at a reserve overlooking Sydney Harbour in an appeal for Chan and Sukuraman.

Amnesty International says the floral message will be displayed from Monday at Blues Point Reserve.

'Today in Indonesia, up to 9 people - including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - face imminent execution in as little as 72 hours,' Amnesty said in a statement.

'More than 140 countries around the world have now abolished the death penalty for good. It's not too late for Indonesia to join them.'

Members of the public are encouraged to contribute to the appeal by purchasing flowers from Amnesty's website.

A former inmate of Kerobokan prison has told of how he was baptised by Bali 9 drug smuggler Andrew Chan who helped him kick his 20-year drug addiction, told Daily Mail Australia he is heartbroken and struggling to cope with the news.

'I am really disappointed with the government and how they deal with this issue,' Matius Arif Mirdjaja said.

'It would be better to make sure justice rather than execute, better to secure rights rather than take them.

'It's definitely really hard for me to cope with this. I have to keep my faith.'

Mirdjaja also accused the Indonesian government of using the executions the 2 Australians as a distraction.

'This is not about law enforcement - it is a tragedy presented for public consumption,' he said.

'Government have lost their mind to gain popularity by execution; they use the drugs war to hide other issues that are more serious.' Mirdjaja said he spoke with Chan and Sukumaran two weeks ago, and the 2 were 'good'.

'Andrew is OK, Myu starting making a sketch. But they were attacked by mosquitoes.'

The 40-year-old started a bible group with Chan inside Kerobokan prison.

Since he was released in 2013, Mirdjaja has preached at churches in south-east Asia, while trying to roll out rehabilitation programs started by the Australians to help others at 17 different prisons around Indonesia.

Filipina Mary Jane Veloso's transfer from Yogyakarta prison is considered an ominous sign for the other prisoners, after Indonesian Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo said the 10 death-row inmates would be executed together for the sake of 'efficiency.'

Veloso's sister Marites told Rappler her sister called her with the news.

She had been told the date in the presence of embassy officials, hours after her family had visited, according to the website.

The embassy of the Philippines was called to the same Saturday meeting, along with France, Brazil and Nigeria, who all have citizens listed to face the firing squad.

While admitting the summons has her worried, Ms Bishop said there was still time for President Joko Widodo to show mercy towards the 2 rehabilitated Australian men.

'He is the leader of a great nation, a dear and close friend of Australia,' she told reporters. 'We ask that he take into account our considerations.'

Ms Bishop's office says the Foreign Minister is seeking a phone call with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, who was unavailable on Friday with Indonesia hosting the Asian African Conference.

Indonesian officials say the Cilicap meeting signals the beginning of the 'execution process'.

On Thursday, Indonesia's head of General Crimes sent letters to the prosecutors of all 10 prisoners and ordered preparations be made for their executions.

The lawyer for Nigerian man Raheem Salamim, who is sharing a cell block with Chan and Sukumaran on Nusakambangan, confirmed Thursday the Nigerian Embassy had also received a letter summoning officials to Cilacap.

'Based on experience from the previous execution, they're going to tell them the date for the execution,' lawyer Utomo Karim said.

President Widodo told Indonesian news agency Antara while he would not interfere with the inmates' outstanding legal appeals, the executions would take place upon their conclusion.

'When it will be done is no longer a question,' he said. 'It is only awaiting the conclusion of all procedures and the legal process, which I will not interfere in. It is only a matter of time.'

In Gallipoli, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said efforts to save Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 34, would continue.

'I guess there's always hope while there's life but obviously these are late days.'

The Attorney-General has already suggested that a Constitutional Court challenge will not be taken into account, believing the pair have exhausted their appeals options.

'My brother made a mistake 10 years ago and he's paid for that mistake every single day since then,' says Sukumaran's younger sister Brintha in an emotional plea his life to be saved.

Sukumaran's sister, Brintha, has pleaded for her older brother's life in a short YouTube video.

'My brother made a mistake 10 years ago and he's paid for that mistake every single day since then' she says, clutching a photo of Sukumaran as a boy.

'My family and I have also paid for this mistake as well.'

But he's become a good man after 10 years in jail, she says.

'He has taught so many Indonesian prisoners about art and how to live outside in the world and have a good and productive life,' she said.

'From the bottom of my heart, please President Widodo, have mercy on my brother.'

Source: Mail Online, April 26, 2015

Bali Nine: Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan refuse to sign their execution warrants

Mary Jane Veloso
MYURAN Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have both refused to sign their execution warrants, telling the prosecutors tasked with executing them that they believed their impending death was unjust, that they had been rehabilitated and deserved a second chance.

Their dignified and courteous responses, which at one stage brought a hush over the area where the process was taking place, came on Saturday when prosecutors went to Nusakambangan to deliver the execution notice.

And in his last days, Sukumaran yesterday expressed extraordinary compassion, telling one of his visitors that he felt sad for Filipina woman, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, the sole woman in the group to be executed on Tuesday night.

He said Veloso had told him she was innocent. Sukumaran told the visitor that even if she wasn’t she didn’t deserve the death penalty and that to kill someone like her was just pretending to fight crime and drugs and it was “just killing the little person”.
‘Self Portrait, 72 hours just started’ by Myuran
Sukumaran. Source: News Corp Australia

He told his visitor that he “felt so sad when he saw her, she was poor and little”.

Sukumaran was the first of the nine prisoners called to learn his fate. When asked to sign the execution warrant, Sukumaran said he would not do so.

His reasons were then documented. Sukumaran told them that he was rehabilitated and that he had spent so many years trying to do good in the prison that he felt his execution was unjust and he had apologised to the people of Indonesia.

The men’s Australian lawyer, Julian McMahon, was with both men during the extraordinary scenes.

“The way Myuran conducted himself reflected the depth and strength of his character. He was calm, composed and straightforward given what had just been said to him,” Mr McMahon told News Corporation last night.

“When he received the 72 hours notice he remained dignified and peaceful. He spoke with courtesy and clarity to a hushed room explaining why he felt to proceed to execution was unjust,” Mr McMahon said.

Click here to read the full article

Source: news.com.au, April 27, 2015 (local time)

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