Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

Convicted murderer Rodney Reed is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 20, but Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to stop it.
As it stands, there’s no indication that Abbott will. He has only stopped one execution since becoming governor 5 years ago.
Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, after being convicted of the brutal 1996 rape and killing of a 19-year-old woman from central Texas, Stacey Stites. And though the governor has yet to weigh in on this specific case, he supports capital punishment, as do most voters in the state. According to a June 2018 poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, fully three-fourths of Texans strongly or somewhat support the death penalty.
But the question at hand has nothing to do with the death penalty, per se. Granting a reprieve would simply be the right thing to do — and a necessary precaution against the doubts that would linger, if Reed is executed as scheduled.
Reed has consistently maintained his innocence, and legitimate questions …

Saudi executed for murdering Indonesian maid

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi authorities executed a citizen on Tuesday after convicting him of sexually harassing and brutally murdering his Indonesian maid.

Shayea al-Qahtani was found guilty of killing the maid by beating her with a cane and pouring boiling water over her, the interior ministry said.

His execution in the southwestern province of Abha was the 63rd in the kingdom so far this year.

That compares with 87 in the whole of 2014 in what Amnesty International has called a "macabre spike" in the kingdom's use of the death penalty.

The London-based human rights group ranked Saudi Arabia among the top three executioners in the world last year.

The interior ministry has said that the death penalty provides an important deterrent.

Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy, homosexuality and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic shariah law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 21, 2015.

Saudi king rejects RI migrant worker murderer’s plea

A Saudi Arabian citizen imprisoned in the city of Abha has been executed by local authorities for the brutal murder in 2010 of Indonesian migrant worker, Kikim Komalasari.

Syai Ali al-Qahtani was killed by firing squad on Tuesday Saudi time after spending several years in prison awaiting execution, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

Al-Qahtani was found guilty of murdering 36-year-old Kikim, whose body was discovered in a dumpster with slash wounds to her neck and body.

Kikim’s body was repatriated with the help of the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, before being laid to rest in her hometown of Cianjur, West Java, in 2011.

Local authorities went through with the execution following the convict’s unsuccessful plea to Saudi King Abdullah to be pardoned for his crime.

“Due to the brutality of the murder, the king declined to grant clemency from the death sentence. So the convict was promptly executed,” said Dicky Yunus, a senior diplomat who recently joined the Indonesian migrant protection squad in Jeddah, in a statement on Wednesday.

Unlike the usual qishas punishment, in which the perpetrator must seek clemency from the victim’s heir, Al-Qahtani’s death sentence was categorized as ta’zir — only pardonable by the king.

The ministry also announced that the Indonesian mission in Jeddah had provided Kikim’s family with legal assistance from the outset of the case, even appointing attorney Abdurrahim Muhammad al-Hindi to monitor the case.

“This was to ensure that justice was served and that Kikim [and her family] got to exercise [their] rights,” said the ministry’s director for protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, on Wednesday.

According to Iqbal, the legal team in Jeddah convinced the presiding judge in the case to afford Kikim’s heir an opportunity to demand diyat or blood money, even though punishment under ta’zir does not usually involve monetary compensation.

The diyat request was appended to the court verdict on account of the three children that Kikim left behind. The welfare of the three heirs, aged 22, 15 and 9 years old, relied on the payment of blood money, he explained.

Iqbal said that Saudi clerics had set the blood price at 400,000 riyals (US$106,657.4) for a male death and 200,000 riyals for a female victim.

“The Jeddah mission will assist in the diyat proposal for Kikim’s heir and we will appoint an attorney if necessary,” said the Indonesian Consul General in Jeddah, Dharmakirti, in a statement.

The execution of Al-Qahtani comes amid increasing pressure on the Foreign Ministry to boost its efforts to ensure the safety of Indonesians abroad, as several NGOs condemned it for its recent failure to save the lives of migrant workers on death row in Saudi Arabia.

Last week the Saudi government shocked the nation when it executed two Indonesian migrant workers within days of each other and without prior official notice. The Indonesian government had to twice file complaints to the Saudi mission in Jakarta following the executions of Siti Zaenab and Karni Tarsim.

Even so, director Iqbal maintained that the government had exhausted all avenues in providing assistance to the two troubled Indonesian workers, and that it would continue to do so in future cases.

According to him, as many as 227 Indonesian nationals are on death row abroad, with 60 percent of the cases related to drugs. Of this number, 168 people are in Malaysia, while Saudi Arabia has 36.

Iqbal said the news of a Saudi national being executed proved that there had not been any failure in the government’s diplomatic efforts

“We’ve done our best, but it was beyond our means; if we want our laws to be respected, we must respect the law that applies in other countries,” he told The Jakarta Post in a short message.

“We will always provide the maximum amount of protection for our people abroad, but that must be achieved within the legal corridors that apply.”

He said the government had often exceeded the international norm in ensuring fair trials for its citizens abroad, and those efforts were being continuously improved upon.

“What the government has achieved through its representatives abroad has far surpassed the extent of its duty,” he added.

Source: The Jakarta Post, April 23, 2015

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