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…

France vows efforts to save national on death row in Indonesia

Serge Atlaoui
Serge Atlaoui
French President Francois Hollande says Paris will do its utmost to save a French national who has received a death penalty over drug offences in Indonesia.

"France, without going into the legal debate, is doing everything to keep Serge Atlaoui alive," Hollande told reporters following a European summit in the EU's de facto capital of Brussels late Monday.

He added, "It will be up to the lawyers to decide what other avenues to pursue."

Meanwhile, France's European Affairs Minister Harlem Desir also vowed to mobilize "the whole of the French diplomatic service" in an attempt to have Atlaoui's death sentence annulled.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, also reiterated support for the drug offender, saying he plans to talk to Atlaoui's wife regarding the convict's situation very soon.

Earlier, the State Administrative Court in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta upheld its previous verdict regarding Atlaoui's charges, saying the court is in no position to reconsider the convict's clemency plea, which had already been dismissed by the country's President Joko Widodo.

Atlaoui's death sentence was to be implemented 2 months ago, but it was suspended upon pressure from officials in Paris, who have warned Jakarta of unspecified consequences if the convict is executed.

Indonesian police detained Atlaoui in a secret drug factory outside the capital in 2015. Jakarta said he worked as a chemist at the site.

The French national rejects the allegation, saying he had no knowledge of the factory's illegal activities, and was just installing machinery at the site when he was arrested.

Back in April, 2 Australians, a Brazilian, 4 Nigerians and an Indonesian were executed in the Asian country for drug offences.

Despite international pressure, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has stressed that Jakarta will continue to severely punish drug traffickers, saying the country is currently grappling with a serious crisis over the increasing drug use.

Source: PressTV, June 23, 2015

Atlaoui to face firing squad after Ramadhan

Indonesian president Joko Widodo
Indonesian president Joko Widodo
Having escaped the firing squad once, French death row inmate Serge Atlaoui is on the list again after the State Administrative Court (PTUN) rejected his last-ditch appeal for clemency on Monday.

Presiding judge Ujang Abdullah said in the ruling that he had no authority to overturn the President’s decision on the matter.

“We reject the challenge by the challenger,” he told the court.

Atlaoui, 51, was crossed off a list of convicts to be executed along with Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in April because he filed a lawsuit to challenge President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s refusal to grant him clemency.

The lawsuit was lodged on the grounds that the President unilaterally rejected the pleas of all drug felons on death row rather than considering the merits of each case.

In his verdict, the presiding judge reasoned that granting clemency was the prerogative of the President.

The police busted Atlaoui when they raided a secret factory producing ecstasy in Tangerang, Banten, in 2005, with authorities accusing him of being a “chemist” at the site.

The French citizen was subsequently convicted in 2007 of possessing 138 kilograms of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine), 290 kilograms of ketamine and 316 drums of precursor substances.

Atlaoui’s lawyer, Nancy Yulian, said that she did not know whether her client would pursue other legal options or not. “We will inform the family and we will think of another legal way. We don’t know yet,” she said.

Nancy added that she was disappointed with the result, saying “from the beginning, we have known that he didn’t do anything wrong”.

Attorney General’s Office (AGO) spokesman Tony Spontana, meanwhile, said that Atlaoui had exhausted all legal avenues.

“Therefore, the execution will definitely go ahead, but for sure it will not happen in the near future,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Tony added that Atlaoui would not be put to death during Ramadhan in respect to the Islamic holy month, which will end in mid-July. “Most definitely not during the Ramadan month. It wouldn’t be wise to do that during the month,” he said.

Moreover, Tony said that the AGO would have to sort out the documents for other death row inmates so that Atlaoui could be executed along with others.

“We still have around 60 convicts on death row, but we have to make sure who is ready [to be executed], such as those who have no ongoing legal processes,” he said. “If there are such convicts, we could execute them all at once. It’s more efficient that way.”

The impending execution of Atlaoui is likely to trigger an angry response from the French government.

France’s European Affairs Minister Harlem Desir said “the whole of the French diplomatic service” was being mobilized to save Atlaoui.

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

Source: The Jakarta Post, Hans Nicholas Jong, June 23, 2015

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