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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…

Indonesia Executed Man With Schizophrenia

One of Myuran Sukumaran's final paintings
Indonesia's Attorney General HM Prasetyo has high praise for the April 29 executions of 8 people on the country's death penalty island of Nusa Kambangan, even saying the executions were "better, more orderly and more perfect" than those of 6 people in January.

That sunny appraisal suggests Prasetyo is unaware of the last moments of Rodrigo Gularte, a Brazilian national executed for drug trafficking. Gularte didn't realize that he was about to die until the final minutes before he went before the firing squad, a Catholic priest who had counselled him said. That lack of understanding was no herculean act of denial. It was because Gularte reportedly had bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia and simply didn't understand the gravity of his situation until the very end. A Brazilian diplomat likewise described Gularte in "a very deteriorated psychiatric state" in the lead-up to his execution.

Indonesia's death penalty spree, powered by President Joko Widodo's wrong-headed belief in the deterrent effect of the death penalty, is already a barbaric punishment inconsistent with international human rights law, statements of United Nations human rights experts, and various UN bodies. Human rights law upholds every human being's "inherent right to life" and limits the death penalty to "the most serious crimes," typically crimes resulting in death or serious bodily harm.

But the apparent willingness of the Indonesian authorities to disregard medical evidence of Gularte's apparent psychosocial disability is an appalling violation of both Indonesian law and international human rights standards. The UN Commission on Human Rights adopted resolutions in 1999 and 2000 urging countries that retain the death penalty not to impose it "on a person suffering from any form of mental disorder." Article 44 of Indonesia's Penal Code excludes from criminal punishment any person demonstrating "disorder of his mental capacities."

Gularte's execution should prompt an urgent inquiry into this affront to basic dignity. It reinforces the need for the Indonesian government to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and move toward eventual abolition. Until it does, the Indonesian government's death penalty "shock therapy" against convicted drug traffickers will risk yet more unlawful deaths.

Source: Human Rights Watch, May 1, 2015


Indonesian envoy explains execution of 4 Nigerians

The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, in a meeting summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, gave reasons why the country went ahead to execute 4 Nigerians and other nationals convicted on drug offences on Tuesday. .

According to him, the execution was in order since it was strictly done according to legal proceedings.

Purwanto said: "There was nothing we could do for those 4 Nigerians, because every legal process was completed and only then did the government of Indonesia implement the decision of the court."

According to him, the case has been on for 10 years, and Indonesia needed to make sure that adequate opportunity was given to the convicts within the bounds of the law, stressing that his government suspended the moratorium on death penalty due to the gravity and dangerous impact of drugs on their country.

He disclosed that Indonesia suffers from the harsh reality of the drug trafficking as about 4.5 million of their citizens especially the youth, are affected by the narcotics adding that only about 1.8 million of them have been rehabilitated.

He further said that between 33 and 50 victims of the drugs die every month describing it as unfortunate.

On the possibility of Prisoner Transfer Agreement between both countries, Mr. Purwanto said, "Actually, Indonesia will be happy to do that; but, unfortunately we do not have the legal basis, we have to wait for a new legislation in Indonesia but then we have to convince our members of parliament to do that."

Reacting to the incident, the Undersecretary Economic and Consular Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bokunolu Onemola, said although the Federal Government protested the executions on the basis of subsisting friendly relations between both countries, Nigerians should desist from drug trafficking, especially in countries where capital punishment is being implemented.

He added that Nigeria would not recall its ambassador to Indonesia over the executions.

Jamiu Owolabi Abashin, 50, Martin Anderson, 50, Okwudili Oyatanze, 41, and Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, 47, were executed on Tuesday in Indonesia.

Source: Nigerian Guardian, May 1, 2015


Indonesia mulls over 3rd round of execution of death row convicts

Indonesia's Attorney General's Office (AGO) will make an evaluation next week on whether to proceed with executing more death-row convicts in the near future after the 2 recent groups of executions drew international outcry.

AGO spokesman Tony Spontana said convicts set to be included in the execution list would be those who had exhausted all their legal attempts to avoid the penalty.

"An evaluation of the recent executions will be thoroughly evaluated next week. After that we will determine whether to proceed with the third round of executions in the near future, and the list of convicts who will face the firing squad," he said.

More than 162 death row convicts are currently awaiting their fate. Of the figure, 73 convicts are murderers while 89 are drug traffickers. The list excludes terrorist inmates, according to the AGO.

Source: Straits Times, May 1, 2015

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